Let’s not beat around the bush: Teaching can be exhausting. Even before the pandemic put extra strain on mental health, being on your feet all day and balancing the many emotions flying around a classroom is always a challenge. You might not remember to hit pause and fuel yourself with a healthy snack, but it really can make a difference—especially if you pick mood-boosting foods for a tasty pick-me-up.
Finding things that are delicious, filling, good for you, and fit into a busy teacher schedule isn’t as impossible as it seems. There are tasty options rich in nutrients like omega-3s, flavonoids, B vitamins, antioxidants, which are essential for keeping our brain chemistry in check. Balancing our gut with probiotics and fiber-rich food also improves our chances of maintaining a happier mindset.
Love coffee? Sipping your favorite brew may ward off the blues! Carissa Galloway, RDN and Premier Protein Nutrition Consultant, explains that it can uplift moods along with energy levels. “Try adding magnesium to the water you use to brew coffee,” she suggests. “The combination of caffeine and magnesium have been scientifically proven to help improve your mood.” Galloway also recommends mixing a Premier Protein Shake in with coffee for a trendy drink known as “proffee” as another tasty way to get more mood-boosting nutrients.
If coffee’s not your thing, or you just want to stock up on more snacks that can elevate your mood, try one of the yummy options listed below!
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
“The boost in mood you get when you treat yourself is not a coincidence! According to research, chocolate makes you feel good because it’s full of a mix of mood-elevating chemicals, including caffeine, theobromine, tyrosine, and tryptophan,” Galloway tells us. “For even more benefits, choose dark chocolate and enjoy the antioxidant boost.”
JOJO’s Dark Chocolate Bites Assorted Mix
Happy customer: “Truly a guilt-free treat! I’ve been sharing these with many of my friends, and everyone just loves them! They are delicious and nutritious!”
Blue Diamond Almonds Dark Chocolate Snack Nuts
Happy customer: “These are amazing! Just enough chocolate flavor to satisfy my sweet tooth and perfectly roasted almonds that lend wonderfully to the chocolate flavor. And the final cherry on top—they fit in pretty much every bag I carry.”
UNREAL Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars
Happy customer: “Very good chocolate. Tastes way better than a Mounds bar, but beware, it is very addictive. You will eat more than just one bar.”
Have you heard about the gut-brain connection? A healthy microbiome, thanks to probiotic-rich food like yogurt, has been linked to lower cases of depression and anxiety!
Angie’s Strawberry Greek Yogurt Drizzled Kettle Corn Popcorn
Happy customer: “You will eat the entire bag in the first sitting because these are so good. I do wish they came in individually packaged bags so I could control myself but, oh dear God, are these delicious and salty and sweet and everything a snack should be.”
Simply Smoothie Bites
Happy customer: “These are delicious! I was expecting them to be tiny, chocolate chip size, based on the serving size, but they’re like the size of a quarter. Tastiest low-carb snack ever! Can’t wait for you to come out with more flavors.”
GoGo squeeZ YogurtZ
Happy customer: “This yogurt is so delicious! The texture and the flavor are perfect for my family. It’s inexpensive and a good thing to have for a light snack in the morning or any time of the day.”
Galloway says, “I had a chemistry professor who once told me that monkeys were happy because they ate bananas—and maybe he wasn’t wrong! Bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that is converted to mood-boosting serotonin in the body.”
NATIERRA Freeze-Dried Bananas
Happy customer: “They have the perfect crunch and best flavor. Sweet and melts in your mouth. I couldn’t believe how many came in one pack. Bananas filled to the top!”
Barnana Organic Chewy Dark Chocolate Banana Bites
Happy customer: “The texture is what I like the best—chewy but not sticky. And the smell is not overwhelming like bananas can be as they brown. They are great alone, mixed with nuts, or as a topping.”
Banana Vital Simply Bananas Fruit Bar
Happy customer: “When you unwrap the bar, it looks like a piece of chocolate fudge but tastes like banana! It does have a good flavor. Better than putting a banana in your purse or carrying a real one around somehow until you can eat it. They are tasty!”
“Carbohydrates tend to top the list of comfort foods for many people, and there’s science behind the reason why,” Galloway explains. “One theory surrounding why you crave carbohydrates is low serotonin levels. Carbs are thought to boost the production of these mood-regulating chemicals. Try to choose carbs that are rich in fiber, such as oats.”
Nature’s Bakery Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble
Happy customer: “These are secret hidden gems, I think. Very flavorful, with a strong kick of fresh strawberry. They are always very moist and all around are a tasty treat.”
Bobo’s Oat Bars Variety Pack
Happy customer: “I have been eating Bobo’s Oat Bars for about two years now, and I LOVE them! I have a lot of food allergies/sensitivities, so they are great for me! I usually buy the apple pie or the peach flavor, but I recently discovered the original ‘flavor’ and they are SO GOOD!”
Pamela’s Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Whenever Bars
Happy customer: “These bars are very tasty, and not too sweet. Although I like all the Whenever Bars I have tried, these are my favorite. They do crumble easily, but I eat them so quickly, that is not a problem.”
“Avocados also make the list for several of the nutrients we’ve talked about before,” Galloway tells us. “When you reach for an avocado, you’re getting omega-3s, folate, and tryptophan. No wonder taco Tuesday makes us all smile!”
Earnest Eats Sea Salt & Lime Snacking Avocado
Happy customer: “Wow, was I ever surprised with these. I absolutely love avocados, and was unsure how these would be, but they are fabulous. They are very light and only slightly crunchy (due to being freeze dried), but also still soft and almost creamy like an avocado.”
Sabra Snackers Guacamole & Rolled Tortilla Chips
Happy customer: “Just a perfect delicious snack & fairly low in calories!” (Psst: They need to be kept cool, but a mini fridge can help with that!)
Hippie Snacks Sea Salt Avocado Crisps
Happy customer: “First bite turned into the whole bag for me, haha. The texture is superior: A little delicate and ‘airy’ with a nice, satisfying crunch, and there is no strange aftertaste.”
These spuds are another great source of B vitamins and fiber, making them an excellent mood-boosting choice.
Yammy Sweet Potatoes
Happy customer: “I’m not a sweet potato person, but my husband really likes them so when I got these, I thought he’d eat them all. To my surprise, I found that I quite like them too! The snacks are the right amount of chewy, not too tough and not too soft. I also like that they’re not too sweet.”
KOKO FARM Semi Dried Sweet Potato Snack
Happy customer: “The texture of these dried sweet potatoes is perfect, chewy but not gummy. My family has really enjoyed these as a healthy snack, and I will definitely be buying again. If you like the taste of sweet potatoes, give them a try!”
Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs
Happy customer: “Tried these little spuds for the first time, and they are so amazing! We have allergies in our family, and this was a great healthy snack for the kiddos. My fave flavors are the bbq and cinnamon. Will buy these again and again and again.”
Galloway tells us, “The bright color of berries is linked with many health benefits and related to the antioxidants contained in them. One specific antioxidant, anthocyanin, has been associated with a decreased risk of depression symptoms.”
Navitas Organics Goji Berries
Happy customer: “I love these! This is my first time trying Goji berries. I got them for smoothie bowls, but I eat them right out of the bag. I can’t stop; they taste like candy. Not dried out. They are fresh with a little chew in them.”
BROOKSIDE Dark Chocolate with Acai and Blueberry
Happy customer: “Excellent. I love dark chocolate, and being able to combine that with Acai and Blueberry is the perfect and easy snack!”
Good & Gather Wild Berry Fruit Strips
Happy customer: “They’re delicious! The texture and flavor are perfect. They’re like a gummy candy without the added sugar and synthetic ingredients.”
Nuts and Seeds
“All nuts do well at helping to balance your blood sugar levels, which can decrease mood swings,” Galloway says.
HEALTH WARRIOR Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Bars
Happy customer: “I’m NOT a fan of chia—can’t stand them in puddings, etc., but this is yummy! Nice snack size, sweet but not full of sugar. I could easily eat my way through the entire box. Better than candy and much better for you!”
Daily Brazil Nut Multipacks
Happy customer: “I eat a package every morning as part of my breakfast, and they taste very fresh. The package is just the right size to carry in my purse and is the perfect snack when I’m out running errands.”
Somersaults Sunflower Seed Bites
Happy customer: “These little things are delicious. Super crunchy and yummy. One serving is enough of a snack that I’m not hungry for a while afterwards. They are healthier than other crunchy snack options.”
Do you have a favorite mood-boosting food? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Looking for more yummy snack ideas? Check out the best shelf-stable nut-free snacks for your classroom!