Study Snacks for Smarter Kids
Studying for a test can be a stressful experience for kids, and often for most parents too! Studies have shown that eating helps our brains stay focused, but there’s a catch.
We have to choose the right ‘smart’ foods that our children would actually want to eat.
In order to solve this mystery, we consulted the kids themselves and found out what they wanted from their study snacks.
Study snacks for kids
1. Easy to eat
Have you ever prepared a wonderfully nutritious sandwich only to have your child ignore it and pick up a bag of biscuits or chips to munch on while studying instead?
Before you get upset or question your culinary skills, listen to what the kids have to say!
“I prefer bite-sized snacks because they are easy to eat so I can continue studying while eating” says Gloria, 13.
So the next time you prepare a snack for your kids to munch on while studying, make sure it is easy to eat as snacks that are more difficult to handle may distract them or dirty their books.
Some ways to do this are to:
- Slice up sandwiches into quarters or smaller triangles
- Provide toothpicks or tissue paper so kids can still study while snacking
- Make a mini fruit salad by cutting up a variety of fruits into small cubes so your kids can easily eat them with a fork
2. Anything sweet and chewy
Jia Hui, 8, often munches on sweets while studying because he says it helps him from getting bored while doing his homework. However, too much sugar in children’s diets will result in problems such as hyperactivity and obesity.
According to the Yearbook of Statistics Singapore 2010, 12.1 per cent of Primary 1 boys were obese in 2009 and 10.8 per cent of Primary 1 girls were obese in 2009. Snacking on sweets that contain high amounts of sugar adds calories to your child’s diet and may lead to weight gain in the long run.
Instead of letting your kids loose on sugary sweets, fruits are a great substitute as their high fiber content slows down sugar absorption into the body. Also, try some of these healthier options, we guarantee your kids will enjoy just as much!
- Sweet fruits like grapes, strawberries and cherries
- Dried fruits like raisins and prunes
- Healthier option sweets and gummies from brands such as The Natural Confectionary and Nimm2 which contain no artificial flavourings
3. To calm my nerves before an exam
Let’s face it. Most of us munch on something while doing work because we feel stressed. Likewise, kids like Sarah, 12, always felt like eating while studying because she was worried about her PSLE examinations. To calm her nerves, her parents gave her something warm and comforting after her revision every night to ensure that she had a good night’s rest. You can do the same by giving your children their favourite comfort foods about an hour before they go to bed. Some suggestions are:
- Warm milk (an old trick that still works! Try mixing in a pinch of cinnamon powder if your child doesn’t like the taste of plain milk)
- Light soups such as tomato or mushroom soup (you can use canned soup and add in your own fresh ingredients or simply heat up leftover soup from an earlier meal)
- Instant oats (In my family, Quaker oats has always been a favourite supper snack. Have it with honey and some fruit)
4. To help me stay awake
“Whenever I feel sleepy, I drink some ice water to make me feel awake and refreshed!” says Therese, 15. Besides waking your kids up with a cold drink, give them foods that produce longer lasting mental energy. For our brains to stay alert, it needs glucose, which comes from carbohydrates. But take note that the brain requires a steady flow of energy that comes from whole grains, fruit and vegetables instead of the quick rush it gets from foods like potato chips and candy. Here are some tips to helping your kids stay awake and alert:
- Avoid the urge to give your kids caffeinated drinks like cola or coffee.
- Prepare light snacks. Fatty and heavy meals will make kids feel sleepy faster
- Place a bottle of iced water at their study tables to ensure they remain hydrated
- Fresh fruit juices (try mixes such as orange and carrot or a strawberry and banana) are a great way to boost their energy
5. Something yummy
Perhaps the most important criteria for a study snack is that kids enjoy the way it tastes.
“To me, the best snacks are those that are yummy so I feel good while studying.” says Germaine, 10.
And we totally agree! Try preparing these simple snacks:
- Banana and Nutella toast
- Apple slices dipped in honey or peanut butter
- French toast fingers (dip plain bread in egg and sugar, pan fry over a medium heat till golden brown and cut them up into strips)
- Plain crackers with jam or marmalade
- Frozen yoghurt topped with fresh fruit or cornflakes (just as satisfying as ice-cream!)
So the next time you see your kids studying hard, prepare a study snack to help them stay alert and enjoy what they’re doing. Do check out our tips for parents preparing their kids for an exam.
Drop us a comment if you’ve tried any of our tips or if you would like to share your own study snack secrets!