5-Minute Snacks to Power You Through Your 9 to 5
In this week's Teach Me Something New podcast, Brit and Anj talk to Max Lugavere, The New York Times best-selling author of Genius Foods and Genius Life, about keeping brain fog at bay with sleep, hydration, exercise (puzzles, learning something new, etc.), sex!, and of course food.
"At the end of the day, ultra processed foods are the root cause of the obesity epidemic in this country," he says. "There's a direct association between higher trans fat consumption and increased risk for Alzheimer's disease."
Instead, he suggests reaching for genius foods like almonds, leafy greens, berries, wild salmon, avocado throughout the day to keep your brain and body in tip-top shape. "When you base your diet around minimally processed foods that you eat almost effortlessly to your maintenance level of calories, or even below it, that equates to effortless weight loss."
In fact, we got a taste of Lugavere's favorite snack: dark chocolate-covered blueberries that you can totally do at home."Dark chocolate and blueberries are two genius foods. They're great for brain health," he says.
Here's the 5-minute recipe:
- Melt 85% dark chocolate bar over a low gentle heat.
- Toss blueberries in the melted chocolate and remove from heat.
- Spoon out the dark chocolate-covered blueberry clusters on some parchment paper.
- Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt over the clusters and refrigerate. Pro tip: you can stir in a little bit of Lion's Mane Mushroom Powder, which Lugavere says has been shown to boost neuro-plasticity.
Simple, right? Here are more 5-minute brain-healthy snacks to boost your productivity throughout the day:
"Almonds are rich in magnesium and vitamin E," says Lugavere, and known to benefit memory function.
Mix almonds into your blueberry clusters, grab a handful when you're in between meals, or sprinkle chopped almonds over your lunch salad. Personally, we love this "Almond Joy" snack: Mix a handful of almonds with equal amounts of coconut flakes and dark chocolate chips so you get all three in every bite. The key is sticking to a handful.;)
Got 20 more minutes? Try our Almond Granola Smoothie Bowl for a heartier meal.
The avocado's monosaturated fats help your blood flow, which is good for brain activity. They also help lower blood pressure.
Mix avocado, slices of grapefruit, and pine or macadamia nuts for a brain-healthy snack. These Guacamole recipes for "one" are the perfect snack for dipping jicama, cucumbers or carrots.
Got 10 more minutes? Try our Shrimp-Stuffed Avocado recipe for a brain-healthy lunch.
A soft-boiled egg, or however you like to make them, makes a great midday snack. Add sliced avocado and a tiny sprinkle of salt for a powerful brain boost.
"Protein is a very powerful tool because it keeps you satiated over the longest timeframe," Lugavere. Eggs also have vitamins B6 and B12, folate and choline, which your body uses to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory.Got 10 more minutes? Try this Superfood Egg Sandwich for brekkie or lunch!
Kale has a lot of protein for a leafy green, plus iron, folate, and vitamin B6, which all help make brain molecules like serotonin and dopamine.
Dip fresh kale leaves in a mixture of olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. Optional: add shredded parmesan for a little more flavor.
Got 5 more minutes? Make your own kale chips by removing the leaves from the thick stems, tossing in olive oil and sprinkling with salt. Bake at 350 degrees on parchment paper for about 10 to 15 mins. Enjoy!
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Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.