The Four A's of Fiber: "Remember the four A’s of fiber: apples, artichokes, apricots, and avocados. "

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Smart Study Snacks

Studying makes you hungry! Memorizing math formulas? Chips and soda tend to be part of the equation. Eating can help or hinder your study efforts. If you know which foods to choose, you could sail through studying for your next exam. What foods will help kids hitting the books? It depends on what kind of help they need. But for a sharp mind and calm mood, carbohydrates are the key.

Carbohydrates fuel the brain with glucose. The brain needs glucose, or blood sugar, to stay sharp and alert. In fact, the brain is the only organ in the body that uses only glucose for energy. Our brain and body work best with a steady flow of energy, not a quick rush. Carbs like candy and chips give quick energy and don’t go the long haul. Healthy carbs, including whole grains, fruits, and veggies produce longer lasting mental energy. They also help boost serotonin, a calming brain chemical. Study-stressed kids should eat healthy carbs an hour or two before an exam, the best time to eat for steady energy and calming moods.

A cup of something warm and soothing to settle down. Offer warm milk, a light soup or chamomile tea about an hour before bedtime.

Apple slices spread with peanut butter.
The carb-rich fruit will give serotonin a boost, which helps calm raggedy nerves so it's easier to focus. The peanut butter is filled with healthy fats.
Grapes. Like apples, these sweet carbs get serotonin going while their high fiber content slows down sugar absorption and the fiber itself seems to have stress-soothing abilities. Some kids prefer their grapes frozen for melt-in-the-mouth fun.

The benefit goes beyond the table here. Kids who get into the habit of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, or healthy carbs are likely to keep it up into adulthood.