With all the attention that’s often given to planning healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, it’s easy to overlook the snacks that kids are eating. But, snacks play a role in good nutrition, too. In fact, the right snacks can keep your child’s brain powered throughout the day and even give students a mental edge at school. Take a look at the following snack ideas for how you can incorporate “brain foods” in between meals:

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Glucose, or blood sugar, is the brain’s preferred fuel and promotes alertness. But that doesn’t mean cookies and candy are good snack choices. Those simple sugars set the body up for a quick spike followed by an equally fast crash. There’s a reason orange slices are the classic soccer game halftime snack—they deliver a quick hit of slow rising natural sugars along with lots of water. Try a sliced-up fruit cup or an apple and a slice of low-fat cheddar.

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Nuts and seeds are full of healthy fats, as well as vitamins. A handful of pumpkin seeds provides a daily requirement of zinc, and nuts are chock-full of vitamin E. Try making chocolate nut clusters with pecans, walnuts, and peanuts, and use dark chocolate which is another brain food—in moderation, of course.

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Avocados have been called the world’s most perfect food because they are full of healthy antioxidants as well as monounsaturated fat, which boosts satisfaction. It’s a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are widely acknowledged as the secret to a healthy heart, a brilliant brain, and eagle eyes. One of the best snack ideas you could provide would be whole-grain chips or raw vegetable strips with guacamole, or an avocado Greek yogurt ranch dip.

Popcorn+Trail+Mix+-+Baby+FoodEvia Baby Foode

Whole grains are an important part of the day’s nutrition because they provide vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, which studies say can improve memory. They also provide soluble fiber, which allows for a slow release of the carbohydrates into your system and a more sustained source of energy. Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal with blueberries (another super food) and skim milk, or popcorn mixed with fruit and nuts for a trail mix.

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Blueberries or “Brainberries” have been found to significantly improve both learning capacity and motor skills. Nutrition experts recommend that you eat at least one cup of blueberries a day, so try using this tasty fruit in your fruit cups, on top of cereal, or in a smoothie. Smoothies are a great way to fit in super foods your child(ren) may not like without them knowing, too. Beans, veggies, and other ingredients are easily masked in delicious smoothies.

Have ideas of your own on how to turn snacks into brain food? Share them in the comments below.

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