We’ve all been there — it’s midmorning or midafternoon and a snack craving hits. Your first instinct might be to reach for something sweet or salty, only to feel bloated or have a sugar crash a little while later.
The next time a craving hits, consider these healthy options that have the added benefit of boosting your mental function.
Nuts and Seeds
There are tons of options here from almonds to cashews to pumpkin seeds. Eat them roasted, salted, or just plain. Either way, you’ll receive a dose of zinc, which enhances mental agility and memory, and vitamin E, which helps prevent mental decline.
You can also enjoy nuts and seeds in granola bars and other snacks. Double check the label before you buy to ensure that they are not loaded up with sugar. Look for bars that are naturally sweetened with honey or agave.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, which help improve cognition and memory. Blueberries specifically are considered to be one of the best brain foods out there.
Eating fresh berries is the best way to ensure you are receiving the most nutritional value. If that is not an option, look for dried or frozen varieties. Dried berries can be eaten on their own, while frozen berries are best used in smoothies and other recipes.
Many granola bars also include berries, but check the sugar content and list of ingredients before you buy. Many bars with added dried berries may also contain artificial ingredients and additives!
Spinach and Kale
Kale and spinach have both been proven to slow mental decline and decrease risk of dementia. While it might not be practical for everyone to dig into a handful of leafy greens in the middle of the day, there are a few ways you can sneak them into your snack routine.
You can blend them into smoothies for an added health kick when combined with berries, or make a green juice (with a juicer) and combine leafy greens with other fruits and veggies. Another idea is to look for kale chips (which are made from dried kale) or spinach and kale tortilla chips at your local grocery store! They can be great substitutions for regular corn or pita chips when eating with dips, salsa, or hummus.