There are times in everyone’s life when the thought of cooking seems like an extra chore in an already overwhelming day. Students are juggling studying and exams while trying to fit in any semblance of a social life. Parents are trying to remember dentist appointments and dance recitals while maintaining an outward calm and professional demeanor. Business owners are working extra-long hours trying to find ways to keep their companies afloat in such trying times.
We all have a lot on our plate in the figurative sense. In a literal sense, some of the food we eat isn’t always what is best for keeping our brains powered for another stressful and exhausting day. While there are likely a million things pulling you in every direction, it is easy to forget about fueling yourself with nourishment that will improve focus.
Neglecting proper nutrition will inevitably make life more difficult. You won’t have the energy needed to tick off your expanding to-do list and you’ll become more susceptible to illness and infections. In order to do your jobs effectively, you need to put the right nutrition into your body before you start a downward spiral. Here are five brain-boosting snacks for busy people with no time to cook.
Nuts are calorie-dense, so they sometimes have a bad reputation. However, this also means that just a handful of nuts can keep you going and be the pick-me-up that your body needs.
In the quest for better nutrition, it is essential to have healthy snacks at the ready, so that you don’t get tempted by the ever-available vending machines. Nuts are a great portable snack, as you can divide up a portion of nuts into separate small Ziploc bags and store them in your desk drawer, your car’s glove box, and your purse.
Pistachios, peanuts, cashews, and pecans are all delicious and nutritious; however, walnuts are best for their brain-boosting properties. It’s been scientifically proven that consuming nuts strengthens brainwave function, which assists with learning, cognition, and memory. Almonds and hazelnuts have also shown positive results in scientific research concerning memory.
Apples are often overlooked as a dull snack, but that doesn’t need to be the case. In the U.S. alone, there are over one hundred different apple varieties. Combine that statistic with some simple apple snack recipes like apple slices with peanut butter, cheese, or cocoa, and you’re in for a dizzying number of options.
Apple peels are high in an antioxidant called quercetin, which is excellent for circulation and lowering cholesterol as well as maintaining cognitive health. They also have a lot of fiber, so they will keep you feeling satiated for longer. Apples can be kept fresh in the fridge crisper for up to eight weeks and transport more easily than other fruit. If you struggle to make apples your go-to snack, we recommend that you try a simple hack. Simply cut an apple into thin slices and you’ll see how much more enjoyable it is to eat on the go or while working at your desk.
There is a fine line between an under ripe and an overripe avocado, but if you can time it correctly, then there is no simpler food to make you feel like a gourmet chef in a matter of seconds. The unsaturated fat in an avocado is healthy and known to reduce blood pressure and defer cognitive decline.
Avocados can be mashed and eaten with whole-grain tortilla chips or spread onto toast. With this versatility, you can easily mix it up by adding your favorite dash of spices, chili, thinly sliced tomato, a soft egg, or some jarred salsa.
No one said that brain-boosting snacks couldn’t also be a treat. Dark chocolate has proven its antioxidant properties time and again in scientific studies. The endorphins in dark chocolate and raw cacao help keep your mood elevated, and it improves blood flow. Consider having a bit of dark chocolate every day, or mix it in with nuts or a smoothie. Apple slices dipped in warm, melted dark chocolate are divine.
Smoothies are the perfect go-to when you need to make something quickly and have a snack on the run. By packing them out with ice, you also ensure that you stay hydrated, which is essential for maintaining focus throughout the day. You can add almond milk or nut butter for an extra pop of protein to make you feel full for longer.
There are infinite recipes and combinations, and you can even meal-prep your smoothies to make the whole process more straightforward. It will take you minutes to prep, chop, bag, and tidy a week’s worth of smoothie ingredients into separate freezer bags. This way, you can grab extra seasonal fruit, vegetables and sale items.
Investing in a quality blender like a Ninja or Nutribullet will make the process much simpler. Consider purchasing extra cups, and then you can make your mix up the night before and give yourself some additional sleep in the morning. Some of our favorite brain-boosting combinations include:
- Raw cacao, peanut butter, and banana
- Blueberry and pomegranate
- Spinach, avocado, and mango
- Coconut and blueberry
- Pineapple and kale
Chickpeas are excellent for improving your brain health as they are packed with protein, and the slow-release carbohydrates will keep you sustained and focused. Canned chickpeas are a brilliant pantry item and can be quickly made into delicious hummus. Classic hummus recipes include chickpeas, brain-boosting tahini, olive oil, and garlic, but there are loads of unique flavor combinations to ensure you never get bored. One of our favorite ways of enjoying chickpeas is roasting them. You can then keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days and eat them on the go.
By nourishing your body with the right complement of ingredients, you can help boost your concentration and focus. Healthy foods can enhance your brainpower and promote attention, cognition, and performance. This will make keeping up with the daily grind easy and assist with your overall mental and physical wellness.