Feed Your Mind-The Perfect Little Brain Snacks

Feed Your Mind-The Perfect Little Brain Snacks

Brain Snacks Improve the Mood and Energy

What if I told you the best way to feed your mind was through food- not some philosophical jargon! What we put into our body is what influences our mind. In fact, food is the very vitality allowing our mind to function at all! While no one deny this logic, I think we often disconnect  from this idea.  The idea that food is what is responsible for what goes on in both body and mind. What’s our bodies mood food? How do we get some brain snacks in there! Which foods help us solves problems, combat depressive disorders, and manage stress level headed?
green peas in pot feed your mind
nutrient dense foods feed your mind
toast with fruit balanced plate
balance the plate feed your mind

Balance Your Plate, Feed Your Mind

Have you ever tried to run a car without gasoline? How far did you get? What would happen if you decided to put windshield washer fluid in the oil bin instead of oil. While I hope you  haven’t tried either of the tasks listed above, we can imagine the outcome of such negligence.

Fueling our bodies is kinda like operating a car. Without the right fuel, It would be far fetched to think we could get anything done efficiently. When you don’t feed your mind properly, you may notice you  end up tired and  running sluggishly. You may notice yourself waking up with the primary anticipation of getting back to bed! Just like a car, our bodies need ALL regular nutrition to be expected to run properly. And we need to feed our minds through our stomach by providing it with adequate brain snacks!

How to Create Balanced Brain Snacks

Balancing the plate is a good way to ensure you get in all the nutrients you need throughout the day. Here is an easy way to balance the plate:

  • incorporate a serving of whole grains
  • Getting fruits/veggies on half the plate
  • Choose a lean protein (eggs, fish, chicken, beans, lentils, tofu)
Serve a fresh balanced platter of brain snacks every 4–5 hours.  Lets face it, a longer duration than this and our brains are hangry and our bellies are bossing us around- and not in a positive way!

Proper Meal Timing to Feed Your Mind and Improve the Mood

Just as important as what you eat is when you’re getting it. Skipping meals or prolong  time between meals and snacks, your brain runs out of fuel fast. This can lead to low energy and low blood sugars. Moral of the story here:  Stop being stingy and give your brain some snacks!

A recent study looks at the importance of breakfast for  for daily energy as well as preventing depression. Continuing to balance through the day is equally important. Study research can be found here.

side of pizza on table
feed your mind by eating on a schedule
fresh bread for sale
Carbs are perfect brain snacks

Carbs are Our Bodies Preferred Brain Snacks

Our brains favorite food is carbohydrates.  Carbs are the #1 way to feed your mind.  This is because our brain runs on glucose. Glucose  comes from dietary carbohydrates and sugars. Foods rich in fiber such as whole grain bread, pastas, rice, fruit and some veggies are our easy one stop shop brain snacks.

Without it’s preferred fuel of carbohydrate, the brain can become foggy. You may have trouble staying focused and getting the energy to do daily tasks. If going for prolonged periods of time without carbs, the body may also experience low blood sugars (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar can occur even in otherwise healthy individuals.

You may discover the challenges of foggy brain and low energy if you were to  follow some type of a low-carbohydrate diet. Creating a steady mood and healthy brain activity  is about balance, not elimination.

Fish-The Perfect Food to Feed Your Mind

DHA and EPA (Omega 3 fatty acids) are one of your most powerful mood foods. In fact, low red blood cell levels of DHA and EPA are highly correlated with increased risks of depression. Omega-3 also reduces the amount of inflammation in our bodies.

Best Omega-3 Brain Snacks?

  • Anchovies
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Albecore Tuna
  • Herring
  • Fish oil supplement

What Are Some Plant Mood Boosting Omega-3 Foods:

  • Hemp Seeds (try a smoothie here)
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Algal oil
salmon on a plate with green garnish
Salmon Contains Omega-3 seafood brain snacks
Dark leafy green brain snacks
dark leafy green brain snacks

Feed Your Mind by Starting With the Gut

Did you know that over 90% our feel good transmitter serotonin is produced in the gut?  It may surprise you to learn the number of nerves in the gut exceeds that in the spinal column! Communication between the brain and the gut is a two-way channel.  The gut usually takes the lead sending signals to the brain.  So it’s important it’s got the right communication equipment!

Folate rich foods are an excellent for boosting mood

Diets rich in folate are correlated with a decreased risk for depressive disorder. Get heaps of folate rich food by starting with a plant based grocery list Foods containing folate include:
  • leafy greens
  • broccoli
  • lentils
  • avocado
  • beets
  • beans
  • legumes
  • citrus

Another great source of folate is sweet potatoes.  Try these cajun inspired fresh tacos for a healthy vegan burst of folic acid.

One thing to remember about folate is it can be easily lost with cooking or storage, putting a damper on your brain snacks.  For best results-prepare produce  as close to fresh as possible! There are many foods to add to this list but those are a few to get you started. Brain snacks come in big and little packages but most of the packages are perishable!

B Vitamins, A+ brain snacks

B-Vitamins serve as important bridge in production of both energy from carbs, and our feel good neurotransmitters. Without appropriate intake of  B vitamins such as b6 for example, we can’t produce serotonin, a feel good neurotransmitter. Food for thought (or memory), we’d be hard pressed with a b5 deficiency. 

Various b-vitamins are found in all types of foods but here are a few to get you started:

  • Whole grain breads and cereals
  • Quinoa
  • Bulger
  • Legumes
  • Steel cut oats

If I want to improve my mood with food, I first need to optimize the nutrients that make the mind tick!

carbs on a fork to feed your mind
pasta contains b vitamins to feed your mind
sunshine and folate both brain snacks
sunshine and folate both brain snacks

Sunshine to Feed The Mind

I personally  love a good bask in the sun.  Did you know as you’re catching waves your body is thanking you through vitamin D production?

Vitamin D is our happy vitamin, often linked with an increase in overall mood. While the sun is a great source we also need to choose foods high in vitamin D, as our needs will likely not be met by sunshine alone. Here are some great Vitamin D food choices:

  • Mushrooms
  • Salmon with bones
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified milk
  • Fortified Soy Milk
  • Egg Yolks
  • White Beans
  • Kale
  • Collards

Meal prep- An Easy Win for Keeping the Brain Healthy

Many of brain snacks are simple enough to incorporate with a little planning and prep.  A balanced diet is the best way to feed the mind. I encourage you to think about the traditional American diet.  A traditional American diet may be low in many of these mood foods including whole grains, produce, and fish.

A Harvard research study indicates how traditional American diets are correlated with an increased risk for depressive disorder. This may have to do with our tendency for highly processed foods and low intake of fruits and veggies. The research can be found Here.

There is no better time to start improving your mood through food than today.I am always exploring additional ways to eat more brain snacks through natural sources that are not listed here as well. What are some of your favorite ways to feed the mind?

garden starts growing
fresh produce is a great way to feed your mind
Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian
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Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian

Hi I'm Shena. I believe in choosing plants first, honoring your hunger, and that a little humor goes a long way.

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