Energy: The Ups and Downs and Why it Matters

There are many important factors that contribute to creating successful study habits. In order to maintain focus and complete schoolwork successfully, maintaining a good energy level is essential. What we choose to eat and the physical activity we do has a big impact on the longevity of our energy. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked. 

Snacking Smarter

Not all foods impact the brain's endurance equally and a junky snack can lead to blood sugar crashes during tests or study sessions. Fueling up before the school day and before starting homework is an effective way to support sharp brain functioning.

Students should consider foods that provide steady energy to the brain and/or feed their sensory processing needs. Snacks with complex carbohydrates and protein-rich foods provide slow-release energy for the brain without the intense crash that follows shortly after eating. Chewy foods (dried fruit) and crunchy foods (nuts or raw vegetables) can provide sensory input for students who might otherwise feel distracted by sensory-seeking impulses (spinning around in a chair, fidgeting).

Below is a list of tasty and nutritious "brain food". As a mom and someone who enjoys eating, I prepared a list of foods that are study-friendly and also satisfying to eat. Dig in!  


Brain Food For You:

1. Hummus

Hummus is an all-natural food full of energy-boosting protein. Spread hummus on whole grain pita bread or eat it with raw veggies for a quick, filling snack.

2. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is both nutritious and delicious. It pairs well with everything from fruit to celery or bread and jam. It's high in healthy monounsaturated fats, nutrient-rich and protein-packed.

3. Walnuts

 Walnuts are an excellent source of protein and are a great alternative to potato chips. This nut is full of omega 3 fatty acids that will help you think more clearly and stay focused throughout the day.

4. Bananas

A banana holds the daily amount of glucose your brain needs to function. As a bonus, bananas also contain about half of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B6 that helps improve cognitive function and strengthens memory.

5. Raw Carrots

Raw carrots will give you a consistent level of blood sugar that your brain needs to function. Carrots are also crunchy and help to provide sensory input for kids who may be restless or need to constantly be in motion. 

6. Raisins

 If you need a boost of energy, stay away from the carbs and grab a pack of raisins. These high-energy fruits are low in fat and calories and rich in antioxidants which help restore your body’s most important cells.

7. Water

Drink lots of water! If you want to improve your focus, you need to drink enough water. Water gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes.

For more brain-friendly foods, check out this informative list!

Energizing Study Breaks

Studies show that taking deliberate breaks during the course of studying or doing homework can positively effect your ability to stay focused. Taking breaks is important, but what you do with each break matters too.

An activity that will help you feel refreshed and re-focused when it is  time to get back to work is the right type of activity when taking a break.  Remember, different methods work for different people. Eliminate an activity that is difficult to transition back into study mode.

Exercise and movement boosts your brain power. Walking has been shown to relieve stress, reduce fatigue and improve mood. A recent study from Princeton University suggests that exercise or being active during a study break is more beneficial to both your brain and body than surfing the internet or browsing social media. People that are more active form brain neurons that produce a neurotransmitter that calms the brain and reduces anxiety.

Rather than scroll through your iPhone or turn on the TV, choose one (or a few!) of these physically active study break ideas:

1. Take a Walk

Get up from your desk and get fresh air. Even if you are only out walking for 10 minutes, getting your body moving helps with blood flow and will re-energize you. Plus, it will be a nice change of scenery.

2. Stretch

Students are likely tense from the anxiety of studying, plus sitting in the same position for long period of time isn't great for your muscles. Taking some time to stretch out your muscles will help you relax. Why not do a few jumping jacks while you're at it?

3. Take a Quick Shower

Everyone feels invigorated when they are fresh out of the shower. Seriously, it’s like you are a new person. During your next study break, take a five or ten minute shower to help rejuvenate and refresh your body and mind. 

4. Keep Moving

If you are in class, ask the teacher if you can get up from your desk. Complex movement stimulates the brain, so moving around the classroom while you study may help you learn. Even standing up during class can help you pay attention. The same goes for studying at home - walk around the room while memorizing flashcards or reciting a speech!

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Every student has a different learning style. For an individualized plan customized to your child's needs, please contact Dana Aussenberg at or email