Brain Healthy Snacks
Brain Healthy Snacks To Enjoy At Your Desk
We all know what happens when hunger strikes at work. Your body is craving some quick and easy calories, and you’re too busy and distracted to care where those calories come from. But instead of finding a brain healthy snack, you head to the vending machine, and end up with a sugary snack.
The first few bites taste good. Then your blood sugar spikes, followed by the inevitable crash as it drops dramatically, triggering the release of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol that leave you feeling shaky and tired. So now you’re ready for a nap, you’re still hungry, and you missed the opportunity to pick a snack with any nutritional benefits.
With just a little forethought, you can avoid the vending machine sweets and reach for a delicious snack that will satisfy your hunger, increase your focus, provide you with sustained energy, and even boost your long-term brain health. So stock up your workplace with these no-brainer brain-healthy snacks that are easy to grab and eat right at your desk.
A one-ounce baggie of nuts is high in brain healthy, hunger-satisfying protein and monounsaturated fats. Almonds contain Vitamin E, which may help to prevent cognitive decline, and walnuts are full of brain-healthy Omega-3’s and inflammation-reducing polyphenols. Pistachios are high in the antioxidant lutein. Whichever kind of nuts you choose, a serving will give you sustained energy to sail into the next mealtime. Just avoid nuts with added processing or added sugars. One ounce of nuts is approximately 23 almonds.
NUT BUTTER — MORE THAN PEANUTS
A tablespoon of nut butter in varieties such as almond or walnut will give you the same benefits as a serving of the whole nuts. Just make sure to look for unprocessed brands without added sugar. Enjoy with some delicious apple slices.
HUMMUS AND CARROT STICKS
Hummus is high in fiber and protein, with a good mix of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, and just enough saturated fat, too. Combine a few tablespoons of hummus with some carrot sticks, which are full of fiber and rich in Vitamin A and lutein, a compound thought to fight inflammation and reduce age-related memory deficits, for a crunchy, savory afternoon snack.
High in protein and healthy fat, eggs also contain selenium, proven to help your mood, and Vitamin B12 to protect against brain atrophy. The yolks are rich in choline, an essential micronutrient that helps maintain cell membranes and manufacture neurotransmitters in the brain. In the past few years, study after study has proven that eggs are actually very healthy and not a cholesterol risk for most people. Boil eggs at home for ten to twelve minutes, and keep a few in the office fridge, so you can grab one when you need a satisfying boost to your productivity and brain power.
Bananas are high in fiber to keep you full and regulate absorption of nutrients. They contain magnesium to boost brain function, and amino acids to keep you calm and focused. Bananas also contains loads of potassium, which performs many functions in the body and can help reduce stress by regulating blood pressure.
HALF AN AVOCADO
Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats, which are a building block for cell membranes and will keep you feeling full. They’re also a superfood, containing lutein, folate, Vitamin K, potassium, and more. You already know avocados are delicious in salads or guacamole, but for a quick an easy snack at your desk, try eating an avocado as-is. Just cut down the middle, remove the pit, sprinkle with a little salt and scoop out the creamy flesh with a spoon.
Like avocados and the extra-virgin olive oil they are used to make, olives contain oodles of the monounsaturated fats that are a great for your brain and your heart. Olives are also a great source of brain healthy polyphenols, which have been linked to a reduced risk of dementia. Many supermarkets have olive bars nowadays, so grab yourself a mix of olives to keep at the office, and snack on a dozen of them when you’re craving something savory.
Larabar makes delicious non-GMO whole food bars from unsweetened fruits, nuts, and spices. Varieties of Larabar include Key Lime Pie, Cashew Cookie, and Chocolate Coconut Chew. Each flavor of Larabar contains naturally occurring fiber, protein, and healthy fats in addition to different combinations of healthful compounds, none of them contains more than nine natural ingredients, and they’re easy to grab and eat at your desk.
Tuna fish is rich in Omega-3’s, which may help slow cognitive decline, and has very high levels of B6 vitamins. B6 has been linked to cognition, memory and brain health, and all of the B vitamins are great for balancing your mood. Keep a couple of foil packets or cans at the office for those moments when you’re craving something more substantial, and eat with a squeeze of lemon.
Blueberries aren’t just delicious; they are an excellent brain food. Research suggests that the flavonoids found in blueberries can improve memory and general cognitive function, and even slow the advance of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Enjoy them right out of the tub, or sprinkled on Greek yoghurt.
Greek yoghurt has twice as much protein as other yoghurts, as well as calcium, which can calm anxiety and agitation, and a good mix of healthy, brain-building fats. It also has plenty of potassium, zinc and Vitamins B6 and B12.
PURE DARK CHOCOLATE
Chocolate is also filled with flavonoids, not to mention packed with antioxidants. It’s rich in fiber and just the right amount of caffeine. To enjoy the health benefits of chocolate without consuming brain-toxic refined sugar, take 100% baking chocolate, melt, add honey or coconut oil and some nuts and dates, and freeze. Break up into pieces and bring into the office for a great pick-me-up. Or, check out these high-protein brownies made with black beans.
This super-nutritive juice blend made by Young Living Essential Oils combines high-fiber superfruit Wolfberry with carefully selected essential oils and juices. NingXia Red contains powerful antioxidants to help protect against oxidative stress, vitamins, minerals, brain-boosting amino acids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and many more. Keep a bottle in the office fridge, and enjoy an ounce per day to keep your body and brain in tip-top shape.
There is a Way!™
– Dr. Diane®
Copyright © Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D. July 2015