If you’ve ever felt that afternoon brain fog while sitting at the computer, here’s a little food for thought- there is a connection between focus and nutrition. Certain foods, such as those containing a lot of protein or fiber, help to keep your energy levels and focus up. In this age of virtual school and work, it is easy to fall into less than healthy snacking patterns as we grab for what’s quick and convenient. Next time you need to step away from the screen for a snack break, give one of these snacks a try!

  1. Fruit Smoothies

Smoothies are great because the combination options are endless. You can build a smoothie from whatever fruits or veggies you might have in the fridge or freezer! Try this Mango Magic smoothie for a quick pick-me-up:

-4 cups of your favorite milk (dairy, almond, coconut, etc.)

-3 cups of frozen mango

-2 cups of frozen peaches (you could also sub in some frozen berries and a handful of spinach here!)

-3 ripe bananas

Add ingredients together in a blender, and blend until smooth. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

2. Hummus

Hummus is a delicious way to get some quick protein. The iron and folate in the chick peas and sesame seeds will keep your brain and your blood moving! This recipe makes a large portion, so you can make some at the beginning of the week and save it in the fridge to quickly serve when you need it:

-5 cans of chick peas (drain and rinse well)

-1 1/2 cups of tahini (you could also sub your favorite nut butter here)

-1 1/2 cups of olive oil

-3 cloves of garlic (or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder)

-3/4 teaspoon of salt

-3 tablespoons of cumin

-juice of two lemons (or 4 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Try with whole wheat pita or tortillas and some raw veggies. Will keep in the refrigerator 4-5 days in a sealed container.

3. Kale Chips

If you are really craving something with a crunch, try these out. Dark leafy greens, like kale, are excellent brain food, containing a ton of Vitamin C and iron to help keep you awake and focused. If you are feeling adventurous, mix up the spices in this recipe by adding smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic, or curry powder!

-1 head of kale

-1/2 tablespoon of olive oil

-salt to taste

-crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Then wash and dry the kale. Once it is dry, remove the leaves from the stems and tear them into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Place kale pieces on the cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and season with salt and crushed red pepper flakes (optional).
  3. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and allow the kale to cook for 7-8 minutes at 375 degrees. The kale will shrink and turn bright green.
  4. Let cool for a few minutes, then enjoy! Store in an airtight container.

(All recipes are compliments of Food Explorers, a past initiative of the Greater Richmond Coalition for Healthy Children. Explore the Foox Explorers resources and additional recipes here!)