25 Tasty Snacks Featuring the Best Brain Foods

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Last updated August 9, 2023.
Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC. Written by Deane Alban.

The best brain foods also make delicious, brain-healthy snacks. With these 25 snack ideas and recipes, you can boost your brain nutrition between meals.

All around the world, people are eating more snacks than ever before.

Globally, more than one trillion dollars is spent annually on snack foods. 

On average, we get 25% of our calories from snacks

And most of them are processed foods loaded with sugar, chemicals, and unhealthy fats that are bad news for the brain.

Processed snack foods aren’t really food at all.

They are “food-like” concoctions developed by scientists aiming for the “bliss point” — the perfect balance of fat, sugar, and salt that make these foods intentionally addictive

This gives new meaning to that old potato chip ad slogan “Bet you can’t eat just one,” doesn’t it?

Reasons to Eat Brain-Healthy Snacks

We think that it makes sense to choose brain-boosting foods that nourish rather than harm the brain.

Eating brain foods when you snack can help prevent brain fog, fatigue, and afternoon energy slumps.

They can make you happier and more productive.

Brain-boosting foods can nip junk food cravings in the bud, making it easier to make healthy food choices all day long.

Having a supply of good brain food snacks on hand isn’t hard.

It just takes a little planning.

The trickiest part is coming up with ideas.

Here are some of our favorite snack ideas that feature some of the best brain foods.

Snacks Made With Berries

Berries of all kinds, especially blueberries, are widely considered to be a top brain food.

They contain nutrients known to improve memory and learning.

They can stimulate the production of new brain cells and increase brain plasticity

Eating berries can help protect against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurological diseases. 


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Fresh, dried, and frozen berries are all good for the brain.

Surprisingly, frozen berries contain more available nutrients than fresh berries. 

Here are some easy and tasty ways to eat more berries.

Dried Berry Trail Mix

You can buy dried berry trail mix pre-made or make your own.

Mix and match dried berries with nuts and seeds of your choice.

Add some dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs to make it even more brain-healthy.

Strawberry-Blueberry “Jello” for Grownups

This is not the chemically flavored and colored gelatin mix in a box.

This healthy version combines fresh or frozen berries and plain gelatin, an underrated superfood.

With only three ingredients, this Paleo Jello with Berries recipe couldn’t be easier.

Berries With “Cream”

Fresh berries mixed with full-fat, plain Greek yogurt is a delicious and healthy snack.

(We don’t recommend low-fat products. Your brain is 60% fat and needs plenty of good dietary fats.)

strawberry and yogurt dip

Turn up the nutritional value of this snack by replacing yogurt with creamy, naturally sweet coconut cream.

Coconut is another top brain food.

Note that coconut cream is not the same as coconut milk.

It is very thick and usually comes in a can.

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Snacks Featuring Avocado

Another excellent brain food is the avocado.

This unique fruit is 75% fat.

And for a food so creamy, it’s unexpectedly high in fiber

It’s loaded with the same kind of brain-healthy fats (i.e., monounsaturated) found in olive oil.

Avocados are high in tyrosine, the amino acid precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine.

The presence of tyrosine boosts dopamine production, keeping you focused and motivated.

This fruit may even help prevent various neurological diseases


You can buy fresh or packaged guacamole from most grocery and health food stores.

But it’s so easy to make your own.

Mash the meat of an avocado with a fork and mix with a little of your favorite taco sauce.

A squeeze of fresh lime juice is optional.

Scoop it up with healthy chips or raw vegetables.

Guacamole Stuffed Peppers

Avocados can be used to stuff sweet baby bell peppers in this Guacamole Bacon Stuffed Pepper Popper recipe.

peppers stuffed with guacamole

They’re as scrumptious as they sound.

Peppers of all kinds, both hot and bell peppers, are high in vitamin C and antioxidants — both important brain nutrients.


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Hot peppers contain capsaicin which improves circulation to the brain.

Don’t worry about eating a little bacon.

Saturated fat and cholesterol do not cause heart disease and are not the health hazards they were once thought to be. 

Avocado and Banana Ice Cream

What to do with overripe bananas?

Slice, freeze, and blend them to make healthy “ice cream.”

What to do when you’ve also got a ripe avocado?

Add it to the frozen banana mix while blending.

Your banana ice cream just got a serious upgrade in both taste and nutrition.

Season to taste with vanilla and/or cinnamon. 

Vanilla has significant antidepressant properties and cinnamon helps reduce brain inflammation. 

Instant Strawberry Pudding

Mix equal parts strawberries and avocado and blend until smooth.

Sweeten with a little honey or stevia, an all-natural non-caloric sweetener, if needed.

Snacks Containing Green Leafy Vegetables

Kale gets most of the attention as a superfood, but all green leafy vegetables — including collards, spinach, chard, turnip greens, bok choy, and broccoli rabe — are brain-boosting foods.

Green leafy vegetables are one of the best sources of B vitamins, known as the “happy” or “anti-stress” vitamins.

The B vitamins can bolster your resilience to stress, ward off brain aging, reduce depression, and even help you live longer

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Kale Chips

Are kale chips the new potato chips?

You can buy packaged kale chips, but it’s easy to make your own.

kale chips

Follow this super-simple Kale Chips recipe.

They are SO much better than the packaged version that you’ll never go back.

Kale Smoothie

Blendtec, the blender company behind the hilarious Will It Blend? videos, has compiled a list of their favorite kale smoothie recipes.

Check out #8 on their list — Matcha Kale & Peach Smoothie.

Kale and matcha make it super healthy, while bananas, peaches, and ginger make it super tasty.

Matcha is a green tea powder made from the choicest tea leaves.

It’s so densely nutritious that we like to call it “green tea on steroids.”

Coconut-Based Snacks

The world is going nuts for coconuts!

In much of the world, coconut trees are called the “tree of life.”

At one time, coconut was denounced as a source of unhealthy fat, but now its popularity has come full circle.

The medium-chain fats in coconut oil bypass glucose metabolism, delivering energy directly to the brain. 

Coconut oil has been shown to help: 

  • memory loss
  • depression
  • dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • stroke
  • traumatic brain injury

Coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water, and coconut meat are all excellent brain foods.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream

This amazing Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream recipe combines several superfoods for the brain — coconut milk, chocolate, and avocado.

If you’re impatient and can’t wait for it to freeze, you can also eat it as a pudding. 

Sugar-Free Coconut Popsicles

These Coconut Popsicles are nothing like the icy, sugary popsicles you’ll find at the grocery store.

They are rich and creamy and sweetened with stevia.

No-Bake Coconut Macaroons

Store-bought macaroons are loaded with sugar.

Macaroon recipes usually call for separated and beaten egg whites — time-consuming and a bit of a pain.

coconut macaroons

This eggless, no-bake Salted Almond Macaroon recipe is brain-healthy and couldn’t be easier.

Here you’ll also find a version for chocolate lovers.

Snacks Containing Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, a major building block of brain cells that is helpful for a wide range of mental and physical health conditions

They’re also rich in B complex vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium — all nutrients that the brain needs to function well and minimize brain aging. 

Chia Seed Pudding

If you’ve heard of chia seeds, but aren’t sure what to do with them, this simple, customizable Chia Seed Pudding is a good place to start.

This recipe includes some interesting variations such as chai and matcha along with reliable standbys like chocolate and strawberry.

Chia seeds are rich in brain-essential omega-3s and contain a near-ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. 

Nut and Seed Butters

Nut butters no longer mean just peanut butter (which, ironically, isn’t a true nut anyway).

Now there are butters made from almonds, walnuts, or cashews, and seed butters from sunflower or sesame seeds (tahini).

celery stuffed with peanut butter and raisins

You can spread nut butters on apples, bananas, crackers, bread, and raw vegetables.

Celery stuffed with almond butter and topped with almonds and dried blueberries is a nice upgrade from the old “bugs on a log” standby of peanut butter with raisins.

Wheat-Free Seed Crackers

Crackers are the foundation of many healthy snacks, but nowadays more people are minimizing their consumption of wheat and gluten.

This Paleo Cracker recipe makes a decent grain-free cracker from three kinds of seeds and is loaded with brain-healthy fats.

Perfect for anyone who is “watching their wheat.”

Roasted Nuts

Store-bought roasted nuts are usually loaded with salt and unhealthy added oils.

This recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Pecans is lower in salt, but much higher in flavor.

Dashes of cinnamon, ginger, cocoa powder, and hot peppers contribute to both taste and nutrition.

Snacks Featuring Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is technically a seed, but we think that this beloved food deserves its own category!

Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that contribute to improved mood, memory, focus, and attention. 

Dark chocolate is better for your brain than milk chocolate, since it has more flavonoids and less sugar.

Also, there’s some evidence that milk may interfere with the absorption of flavonoids.

No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Bars

Chocolate and coconut is a classic culinary combination. 

If you like to snack on Mounds bars or chocolate-coated energy bars, you’ll love this healthy, no-bake Chocolate Covered Coconut Bar recipe.

Healthy Dipping Chocolate

The easiest way to make a healthy chocolate dip is to start with a high-quality dark chocolate bar.

Break up a chocolate bar and put the pieces in a glass bowl.

strawberry dipped in chocolate

Microwave for about 1-2 minutes for each ounce of chocolate.

Related on Be Brain Fit —
9 Proven Brain Benefits of Dark Chocolate

If you prefer a less intense chocolate experience, you might like this Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Dip for a healthy dipping chocolate.

If you are a chocolate lover, you’ll find that berries, pineapple, bananas, and cherries are all greatly enhanced when dipped in chocolate. Yum!

Healthy Hot Chocolate

Calorie-laden beverages account for a substantial portion of the calories we consume from snacks. 

A Starbucks vanilla frappuccino slides down easily yet contains a jaw-dropping 400 calories

You can see how easy it would be to drink yourself fat.

Here’s our healthy, guilt-free version of hot chocolate.

Put 1 cup of milk in a small pan.

(Milk can be any dairy-free version such as almond, coconut, soy, or oat milk.) 

As it heats, whisk in 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a tablespoon of honey or a little stevia.

Snacks Made With Salmon

Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, is often on brain food lists.

That’s because it’s one of the most important dietary sources of brain-essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon isn’t often thought of as a snack item, but these recipes are elegant enough to serve as hors d’oeuvres.

And they are so easy to make that you shouldn’t hesitate to make them for yourself when you feel the urge for some serious brain nutrition.

Smoked Salmon & Avocado Pate

This Smoked Salmon & Avocado Pate recipe combines two superfoods for your brain and it couldn’t be easier to make.

salmon pate on lettuce

The recipe calls for serving on a bed of lettuce (great idea!), but you can also serve it on tomato slices or healthy crackers or use it to stuff celery or make a sandwich. 

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs 

This Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs recipe puts a new twist on deviled eggs.

If you don’t have smoked salmon, feel free to substitute either leftover cooked or canned salmon in this recipe.

Salmon Jerky

You can make your own Salmon Jerky or order it online from Vital Choice, an excellent source for wild-caught, sustainable seafood.

Sea Vegetable-Based Snacks

Sea vegetables are truly a neglected group of superfoods.

They contain all 56 minerals essential for human health in readily bioavailable forms. 

Sea vegetables are an excellent source of iodine.

Low iodine levels can cause hypothyroidism, an extremely common problem.

Signs of low thyroid include poor memory, depression, and fatigue. 

The people of Okinawa, Japan are some of the healthiest and longest lived in the world.

Their regular consumption of sea vegetables is thought to be one of their secrets to longevity. 

Just one sheet of nori, the seaweed used to wrap sushi, has more omega-3s than two avocados. 

Toasted Nori Sheets

You can buy plain nori sheets to wrap sushi.

You can also buy flavored, toasted nori to snack on.

SeaSnax is a popular brand that comes in flavors like chipotle, onion, lime, and wasabi.

Nori Chips

You can use this simple Nori Chip recipe to bake your own chips at home using your choice of seasoning.

Smoked Salmon Sushi

You can pick up pre-made or ready-to-order sushi at many grocery stores and health food stores, but you can easily make your own at home.

sushi and chopsticks on a plate

This Smoked Salmon Sushi Roll recipe contains brain-healthy smoked salmon and avocado.

Cook the rice ahead and you can assemble fresh sushi in just minutes.

For more brain food recipes, see 50 Yummy & Healthy Brain Food Recipes.

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