Recipes for Success: Fast, Healthy, Brainy Snacks for Students

by Dahlia Miller
October 2007

“If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
Carl Sagan (1934-1996 – American Astronomer and Astrochemist)

Brain Foods

Although our brain weighs only 2% of our total body weight, when the body is at rest, the brain uses approximately 20% of the body’s energy. This is why regular, nutritious meals and snacks are so important - especially for students.

To brain has a very limited ability to store energy. So, in order to keep it functioning at its best, it needs constant glucose replacement (the primary source of energy for the brain is glucose, which comes from carbohydrate-rich foods like breads, cereals and pasta).

Healthy snacks can promote optimum brain performance. Of course, students should avoid skipping meals at all costs.

Here is a list of some foods that boost the brain’s functioning:

  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cheese
  • Collard greens
  • Eggs
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Lecithin (liquid or granules)
  • Legumes
  • Milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Oranges
  • Peanut/nut butter
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Wheat germ
  • Yogurt

Snack Recipes

These snacks are simple enough for students in grades 6 and above to prepare on their own. They include healthy brain- boosting foods.

Creamy Smoothie

2 cups soymilk, rice milk or milk
3 bananas (frozen or fresh)
3 tbsp. carob powder (optional)
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. liquid lecithin (this is a bee product)

Blend until smooth. (Hint: Rinse the blender right away when you’re done to make washing up easy.)

Fruity Omega Smoothie

2 cups fruit juice
1 cup water (optional)
1.5 - 2 bananas (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup - 1 cup yogurt
1 tbsp. flaxseed oil
1 scoop “green drink” powder (optional)

Healthy Banana Split

1 medium banana
2 tbsp. jam or fruit sauce
1/4 cup fruit or berries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tbsp. chopped nuts (optional)
2 tbsp. grated coconut (optional)
Scoop yogurt into dish (a wide-bottomed soup bowl works well).
Split banana in half lengthwise and lay alongside the yogurt.
Drop dobs of jam or fruit sauce onto yogurt.
Sprinkle with berries, nuts & coconut.

Lettuce Wraps

2 lettuce leaves per wrap (leafy lettuce, like green or red, is the most flexible)
1 carrot - grated
1/4 beet - grated (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup sprouts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds - roasted
salad dressing to taste
Grate the carrot and beet.
Lay the 2 lettuce leaves, one on top of the other, on a plate.
Place the grated vegetables, sprouts, & sunflower seeds onto the lettuce.
Drizzle with salad dressing.
Roll the lettuce up like a burrito.

Blend until smooth.
Note: Green drinks are green because they are rich in chlorophyll (the green stuff in plants - essentially one of the healthiest things we can eat). Green drinks also usually contain pro-biotics (super-healthy bacteria like in yogurt).

Energy Balls

1/4 cup almonds or nuts - chopped (optional)
1/4 cup granola
1/4 cup sunflower seeds - roasted/chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup tahini, peanut butter, almond butter or other nut butter
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp. carob powder (optional)
3 tbsp. grated coconut or roasted sesame seeds to roll the balls in (optional)
Chop nuts & sunflower seeds.
Transfer to a bowl and add the other ingredients.
Mix well with spoon or hands.
Form into balls.
Roll into coconut or sesame seeds, if preferred.
Eat or chill first to firm the balls up before eating.

Super-Quick Snacks

  • Yogurt mixed with green drink powder
  • Celery-stick stuffers
    cream cheese & raisins
    nut butter
    peanut/nut butter & raisins
    peanut/nut butter & chopped dates
    mashed banana & raisins
  • Instead of celery sticks, try endive
    spears, romaine lettuce or cucumbers that
    have been halved and scooped out.
  • Granola with yogurt, apple juice, soymilk, rice milk or milk

Other Fast Foods

  • Fresh fruit
  • Popcorn with flaxseed oil & brewer’s yeast, tamari or nutritional yeast
    Note: Brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast are edible yeasts that contain an excellent vegetarian source of vitamin B12 - they can be found in the bulk food sections of most stores. Tamari is a sauce made from soy beans (like soy sauce) but without wheat. It has a rich, warm flavour.
  • French toast
  • Lightly boiled Edamame beans
    Note: These are soybeans still in their pods - looking like green peas or beans - they can be found in frozen food sections of asian or natural food stores.
  • Nachos
  • Miso soup-in-a-cup: Add 1 tbsp. miso to 1 cup hot water, and stir. Pour on 1 tsp. flaxseed oil.

The secret to a happy life is simple: do one thing at a time. Eat when it is time to eat. Sleep when it is time to sleep.
Zen saying