According to the World Health Organization, providing proper nutrition and treating micronutrient deficiencies can raise productivity levels by a whopping 20 percent! Let’s make sure you and your kiddos have enough nutrients to keep your brain humming at high speed this school year!
Here are 3 of my favourite plant-based snacks to keep your tummy full and your brain buzzing – in a good way 😉
(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut Free, Refined Sugar-Free)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup hemp hearts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup water
1 large garlic clove, finely grated on a Microplane
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
½ Tbsp Coconut oil.
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread coconut oil over parchment paper to prevent crackers from sticking.
- In a large bowl, combine the chia seeds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
- Add the water, garlic, and salt. Stir with a spatula until combined. Allow the mixture to sit for a couple of minutes until the chia seeds absorb the water. After the 2-5 minute rest, you shouldn’t be able to see any more water on the bottom of the bowl.
- With the spatula (and your hand, if necessary), spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in two small rectangles, about 12×7 inches each and 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle additional salt on top.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully flip each rectangle with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes more, until lightly golden around the edges. Watch closely near the end to make sure they don’t burn. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes on the pan and then break the rectangles into crackers and let cool completely on the pan. Store in an airtight container or jar on the counter for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze the crackers in freezer bags for up to 1 month.
Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows
Most crackers are made from refined flours that lack nutrients and can lead to blood sugar crashes and brain fog. Not these endurance crackers though! They are made with seeds containing Omega 3 fatty acids, iron, zinc and magnesium to support healthy brain function!
The Chia Seeds are packed full of healthy fats, amino acids, and minerals that boost energy, brain health and cardiovascular function. They contain a concentrated source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids (even more than flaxseeds!), which helps lower inflammation in the body and brain. Emerging research has shown that foods high in Omega 3’s may enhance memory and increase mental energy and performance. Chia seeds are especially high in the amino acid tryptophan, which is the precursor to serotonin (the happy hormone), and who doesn’t want more of that?! Finally, chia seeds contain several minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and folic acid which are important for stress reduction and energy production. They are extremely versatile and can be added to oatmeal, salads, smoothies or made into crackers or even “pudding” with your favourite berries for added antioxidant and detoxifying benefits!
Click here to watch the video of me making the crackers 🙂
Roasted Beet Hummus
(Vegan, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Refined Sugar-Free)
1 small roasted beet
1 15-oz. can (1 3/4 cup) organic chickpeas (BPA free can), mostly drained
1/2 a large lemon, juiced or 2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt 1/2 tsp cumin powder
Optional: Few shakes of black pepper, 1-2 olives
- Place roasted beet in food processor and process until only small pieces are visible
- Add remaining ingredients to the food processor and puree until smooth
- Adjust consistently to your liking by adding water to thin out the hummus or extra olive oil to increase creaminess
- Serve with fresh vegetable sticks or Endurance Crackers
Roasted Beet Directions:
- Preheat oven to 425 F and then wrap beet in tin foil
- Place wrapped beet in a roasted pan and then in the heated oven for 45-60 mins, until a fork pokes into it easily.
Recipe Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Hummus is always a crowd pleaser, and when it is PINK, you will have no problems getting your kids to give it a try! The brain boosting ingredient of this hummus is beets!
Beets are brightly red coloured root vegetables are an all-star when it comes to boosting energy and productivity. They contain concentrated amounts of natural nitrites, which dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow and oxygen to the entire body, including the brain. A study published in the journal Nitric Oxide found that a diet rich in beetroot juice increases blood flow to the regions of the brain that are responsible for attention and self-regulation.
You can serve the hummus with vegetable sticks or the endurance crackers!
Chocolate Almond Bliss Balls
(Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar-Free)
- ~ 12 regular dates, soaked in water (or about 8 big medjool dates)
- 1 cup of almonds (or sunflower seeds for nut-free)
- 2 tablespoons of organic cacao powder (not cocoa powder)
- 2 tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut (sulphite free)
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
- Drain the dates if soaking. Remove the pits.
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until the mixture begins to come together in a ball.
- Scoop out about a tablespoon of the mixture at a time, giving it a small squeeze before rolling it into a ball.
- Repeat until done.
- Store bliss balls in an airtight container or jar at room temperature.Recipe source: Mama Pappa Bubba
Cacao is the raw form of chocolate and has some astounding benefits compared to other superfoods. For example, it contains 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries and is several times higher than wine and tea! Cacao contains over 300 compounds and boats high amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, sulfur and phenylethylamine, which can help increase energy, mental alertness, and focus. Magnesium is also a muscle relaxant and is associated with feelings of calmness. One of my favourite benefits of cacao is its ability to stimulate the brain to release neurotransmitters that boost our mood. Clinical studies also suggest dark chocolate may decrease blood pressure and inflammation.
Almonds are one of my favourite nuts! They not only contain high levels of vitamin E to protect your brain against aging, but have also been found to increase levels of a neurotransmitter that improves learning and memory (acetylcholine)! In a 2014 study, higher nut consumption in women was associated with better attention and cognitive function!
Colleen Rempel, BSc (Human Nutritional Sciences)