School is back in session and it’s likely your kids are studying hard. But what are they eating to get through their studying time? Junior high, high school and college-age students are known for eating not-so-healthy snacks. While these snacks may give your kids the temporary energy boost they need, what effect will these foods have on their health?
For this school year, try encouraging good eating habits in your kids by giving them some of these healthy power snacks. They’ll get through their studies and feel healthier overall.
1. Bananas: This energy-boosting carbohydrate has been proven to increase students’ concentration and alertness, among other added health benefits.
2. Whole grains: If there’s a day of studying and learning ahead for your child, include whole grains in their breakfast to increase their mental focus throughout the day. Look for this in “brown” cereals, granary bread, wheat bran and brown pastas.
3. Nuts: These superfoods have a lot of added health benefits for overall, dental and mental health.
- They are a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E (which lessens cognitive decline as people age)
- They are a great nutrient that provides oxygen to the brain to increase mental alertness and a person’s ability to retain information
- They are a great source for energy
Try adding almonds, pistachios and walnuts to your child’s study routine.
4. Apples: Does your child need help remembering things? Give them an apple while they’re studying. The peel of the apple is a powerful antioxidant that can enhance memory function.
5. Dark Chocolate: A great antioxidant and source of caffeine, not only is dark chocolate delicious and good for dental health, it gives energy and helps one’s ability to concentrate.
6. Leafy Greens: Eating vegetables like spinach or kale can help increase mental focus and reverse memory loss. It also has many added health benefits.
7. Blueberries: Besides being really delicious and nutritious, many animal studies have shown that blueberries can improve learning and muscle function. Therefore, this might just be a great snack to have on hand for studying and learning.
8. Other Berries: Other berries like cherries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, gooseberries, black currants and grapes can also benefit brain function. They reduce the level of toxins in the bloodstream and their phytonutrients and antioxidants improve blood flow to the brain, which will enhance neural activity.
9. Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy and brussel sprouts are some of the important vegetables that should be included in study time. They help with memory retention. If your child isn’t a fan of these vegetables on their own, dress them up with some fun, healthy dips or spices.
10. Hummus: Looking for a good dip to go with those vegetables? Hummus is also a great power snack for studying because of its many energy-boosting nutrients—sesame-based tahini, pureed garbanzo beans, olive oil and lemon juice. The protein and fiber found in the beans has the ability to stabilize blood sugar, ease hunger and boost energy.
11. Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans can all contribute to your child’s study time because of their protein, which powers the brain. Your child’s ability to recall information will grow significantly with a regular intake of legumes.
12. Avocados: Packed full of fiber and healthy fats, avocados give energy and make people feel good throughout the day.
For some more specific power snack recipes, check out this Buzzfeed article.
Other Ways Students Can Be More Alert and Focused on Studying
- Eating Right. Make eating right a daily habit. Kids will be more awake and feel better overall.
- Exercise. Getting some exercise can be just the distraction needed to increase focus and mental alertness when studying.
- Drink Water. Stay hydrated. Being dehydrated makes people feel weak and tired. To be more alert during study-time, drink plenty of water.
- Sleep. Get plenty of sleep at night. If students don’t get enough sleep, they’ll feel worn out and exhausted. That’s definitely not something they’ll want to be feeling when they’ve got their head in the books.
- Eat a good breakfast. Many students (high school and college in particular) tend to skip breakfast in the mornings. Make sure your kids are getting a good, nutritious breakfast in the mornings.
Helping your child learn some of these healthy habits and foods to put into their diet now will only benefit them in the years to come. The whole family can even benefit from replacing some of the typical junk foods found around the house with some of these healthier snacks.
Is your child not at home anymore? If you have a college-age student in the family, give them a care package with some of these great power snacks and helpful tips. They’ll appreciate these come mid-terms.
What’s your favorite power snack?