10 easy brain food snacks to make at work for productivity, energy, and focus

Ieva Sipola 9.11.2023
Easy brain food snacks to make at work

If you’re looking for brain food snacks made for office life, you’ve come to the right place. Or shall we say – to the right office kitchen?

In between morning laziness and the mid-afternoon slump, maintaining focus and productivity during a busy workday can be a real challenge. As we juggle multiple tasks and deadlines, it’s easy to neglect our nutritional needs, often reaching for convenient but less-than-healthy snacks available at the nearby vending machine.

The good news is that healthy brain food snacks can be super simple and need minimum preparation if you know what will satisfy your cravings while providing sustained energy and mental clarity. We’ve considered that most offices have very basic kitchens, so you won’t need any special equipment to prepare these healthy snacks to keep at work. 

From savory to sweet, we’ll guide you through 10 tasty brain food snack options to fuel your workday, enhancing your focus, creativity, and overall well-being.

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Savory foods that boost productivity

If you’re more into savory snacks than sweets, there’s a vast choice of food that helps you concentrate. These high-energy snacks are packed with nutrients like protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that will nourish your mind as much as your body.

1. Cottage cheese crackers

Why we love it: If you’re looking for food that boosts productivity, look no further than cottage cheese crackers. Protein-rich cottage cheese will provide a more steady and sustained release of energy compared to sugary snacks or simple carbohydrates, keeping you alert. Protein is also highly satiating, which means you can control your appetite and resist reaching for unhealthy snacks later in the day.

To upgrade your cottage cheese cracker, top it with fiber-rich vegetables or legumes. These will provide a gradual release of energy, helping you avoid the energy crashes associated with high-sugar or low-fiber snacks.

How to make it: You can choose any type of crackers or rice cakes, as long as they are flat, to be able to pile cottage cheese on them. Put a slice of tomato, cucumber, or another vegetable on top of the cottage cheese, and then sprinkle salt and pepper on top.

2. Whole-grain toast with avocado

Why we love it: Besides ensuring gradual energy release, whole grains contain vitamin B12, which supports cognitive function and focus. What you put on the toast depends on your preference, but here are a few awesome productivity-boosting options:

  • Avocado is one of the most nutrient-dense foods thanks to its healthy fats, folate, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium; 
  • Hard-boiled eggs contain choline, which supports memory. Also, they are a great source of protein and essential nutrients that will keep you satiated for longer; 
  • Tuna is rich in amino acids and vitamin B6 (great for fighting depression), and it’s one of the best dietary sources of vitamin D.

How to make it: Mash or cut the topping of your choice, put it on the toast, and sprinkle it with a pinch of salt and pepper for flavor.

3. Microwave quesadillas

Why we love it: When your hunger is greater than a sandwich, a quesadilla may be just what you’re craving. If you choose whole-grain tortillas, you’ll get nutritional bonus points. To turn cheesy quesadilla snacks into a more substantial meal, add meat or cooked beans as a protein-rich filler. 

How to make it: Ours is possibly the simplest and most flexible quesadilla recipe you’ll ever know. Simply put salsa, grated cheese, and any other ingredients of your choice between two tortillas, and then pop them in the microwave for approximately 1 minute.

4. Hummus and veggies

Why we love it: The great thing about hummus is that there are so many kinds that you can never grow tired of it! 

Hummus is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which can improve digestive health. Chickpeas, as well as tahini, contain vitamin B6, which helps maintain brain function. Hummus also contains various antioxidants, such as flavonoids and polyphenols, which help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation.

How to make it: Get your hummus – either homemade or store-bought – and baby carrots, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, or bell pepper strips. Dip and enjoy a delicious and nutritious snack – for yourself or the whole team. Bonus – hummus is vegan, so you can share it with virtually anyone.

5. Nuts and seeds

Why we love it: A handful of mixed nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews, provides a good balance of healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients. Add a bit of sunflower seeds for some omega-6 fatty acids.

Different types of nuts offer a range of benefits, but they generally share several characteristics that contribute to cognitive health. Nuts contain productivity-boosting elements such as healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, folate, choline, selenium, and others.

How to make it: The magic of nuts is that they don’t need to be prepared in any way. But we highly recommend that you try roasting (use low temperatures and be careful not to burn) almonds, cashews, or peanuts on a pan without oil, and their new flavor may surprise you!

Bonus! Popcorn is also technically a type of seed. Air-popped popcorn is a whole-grain snack that’s low in calories. Season it with a light sprinkle of your favorite herbs and spices.

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Sweet brain food snacks

By now, you’ve already guessed that healthy eating and work productivity are closely linked. But if your sweet tooth calls out more often than not, we’ve got good news – healthy doesn’t exclude sweet!

These high-energy snacks offer natural sweetness and antioxidants to protect your brain from oxidative stress, along with protein and healthy fats to keep you feeling satisfied and focused.

6. Greek yogurt with honey and berries

Why we love it: The yogurt provides protein, and the honey and berries add natural sweetness and antioxidants.  Berries, like blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries, are high in antioxidants, including vitamin C, E, and phytonutrients. 

Berries, particularly strawberries, are also high in vitamin C. This antioxidant vitamin may protect brain cells from oxidative stress and support overall brain health. Healthy eating for better productivity has never been yummier!

How to make it: Top plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a handful of fresh berries. You can also add nuts or seeds to this yummy snack bowl. 

7. Apple slices with nut butter

Why we love it: Apples provide natural sweetness, fiber for digestive health, and antioxidants that can help protect brain cells from oxidative stress. Nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter, adds healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium. This combination helps stabilize blood sugar levels which are crucial for sustained energy and cognitive function.

An unexpected bonus – nut butter contains tryptophan, an amino acid that can contribute to improved mood and focus. Delicious food that helps you focus and improves your mood – what can be better than that?

How to make it: Slice an apple and serve it with peanut butter or your favorite nut butter. Alternatively, dip apple slices in the butter, chocolate sauce, or any other creamy, yummy substance.

8. Dark chocolate

Why we love it: A small piece of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) contains antioxidants and magnesium – a natural stress reliever. Dark chocolate also contains some caffeine, which can enhance alertness, concentration, and cognitive performance, improving your mood and focus. Theobromine, another stimulant found in dark chocolate, can increase alertness and provide a mild energy boost without the jittery effects of caffeine.

How to make it: This is the best part – no preparation needed! Just make sure to always have some dark chocolate in your secret work snack drawer.

9. Peanut butter & banana roll-up

Why we love it: If you take afternoon snacking seriously, here’s a refreshment that’s healthy, beautiful, and absolutely delish. Bananas offer natural sugars and potassium, while nut butter provides protein and healthy fats. In addition, bananas will provide your brain with the necessary glucose for optimal function. 

We recommend choosing whole-grain tortillas as whole grains take longer time to process and thus keep you full for longer. 

How to make it: Spread the peanut butter over the tortilla, then roll a banana into it and cut it up into pinwheels (or eat it as a hotdog). Here’s a video of how we made it in our office kitchen.

10. Custom trail mix

Why we love it: It’s extremely hard to get yourself from your lunch break until dinner without any snacking in between. Don’t worry – we’ve got a solution! Custom trail mix is a flexible, office-work-friendly snack that provides a mix of natural sugars, fiber, and protein. You can easily create your own trail mix by combining dried fruits like apricots, figs, or dates with various nuts and seeds. 

Dried fruits (e.g., raisins, cranberries), nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts), and dark chocolate contain antioxidants. Nuts and seeds are also good sources of minerals like magnesium, which plays a role in neurotransmitter release and cognitive function. Zinc, found in some trail mix ingredients, is essential for memory and learning.

How to make it: Pour nuts (roasted or regular) into a beautiful bowl, add seeds, dried fruits, or even M&M’s, and feel your productivity grow with every bite.

High-energy snacks for your taste buds and mind

Amidst a busy workday, maintaining focus and productivity can be challenging, especially when faced with the temptation of quick but not-so-healthy snacks that can lead to energy crashes and reduced efficiency. 

By incorporating these sweet and savory brain food snacks into your workday, you can turn your snacking habit into a productivity force. No matter your snack preferences, the key is to choose foods that increase brain function and make your taste buds happy. 

A bonus tip – remember to drink water along with these snacks! Staying hydrated is equally important for your productivity and well-being.

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