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8 Mood-Boosting Foods To Keep You Going on Long Teaching Days

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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!)

Mood-Boosting Foods

Dark Chocolate

“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!”

Buy JOJO’s Dark Chocolate Bites Assorted Mix from Amazon

Blue Diamond Almonds Dark Chocolate Snack Nuts

Blue Diamond Dark Chocolate Almonds

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.”

Buy Blue Diamond Almonds Dark Chocolate Snack Nuts from Amazon

UNREAL Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars

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.”

Buy UNREAL Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars from Amazon

Yogurt

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

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.”

Buy Angie’s Strawberry Greek Yogurt Drizzled Kettle Corn Popcorn from Amazon

Simply Smoothie Bites

Simply Smoothie Bites shown as an example of mood-boosting foods

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.”

Buy Simply Smoothie Bites from Amazon

GoGo squeeZ YogurtZ

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.”

Buy GoGo squeeZ YogurtZ from Walmart

Bananas

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

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!”

Buy NATIERRA Freeze-Dried Bananas from Amazon

Barnana Organic Chewy Dark Chocolate Banana Bites

Barnana Organic Chewy Dark Chocolate Banana Bites shown as an example of mood-boosting foods

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.”

Buy Barnana Organic Chewy Dark Chocolate Banana Bites from Amazon

Banana Vital Simply Bananas Fruit Bar

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!”

Banana Vital Simply Bananas Fruit Bar

Oats

“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

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.”

Buy Nature’s Bakery Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble from Walmart

Bobo’s Oat Bars Variety Pack

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!”

Buy Bobo’s Oat Bars Variety Pack from Amazon

Pamela’s Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Whenever Bars

Pamela’s Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Whenever Bars shown as an example of mood-boosting foods

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.”

Buy Pamela’s Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Whenever Bars from Walmart

Avocados

“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

Earnest Eats Sea Salt & Lime Snacking Avocado shown as an example of mood-boosting foods

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.”

Buy Earnest Eats Sea Salt & Lime Snacking Avocado from Amazon

Sabra Snackers Guacamole & Rolled Tortilla Chips

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!)

Buy Sabra Snackers Guacamole & Rolled Tortilla Chips from Target

Hippie Snacks Sea Salt Avocado Crisps

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.”

Buy Hippie Snacks Sea Salt Avocado Crisps from Amazon

Sweet Potatoes

These spuds are another great source of B vitamins and fiber, making them an excellent mood-boosting choice. 

Yammy Sweet Potatoes

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.”

Buy Yammy Sweet Potatoes from Amazon

KOKO FARM Semi Dried Sweet Potato Snack

KOKO FARM Semi Dried Sweet Potato Snack shown as an example of mood-boosting foods

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!”

Buy KOKO FARM Semi Dried Sweet Potato Snack from Amazon

Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs

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.”

Buy Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs from Amazon

Berries

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

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.”

Buy Navitas Organics Goji Berries from Amazon

BROOKSIDE Dark Chocolate with Acai and Blueberry

BROOKSIDE Dark Chocolate with Acai and Blueberry shown as an example of mood-boosting foods

Happy customer: “Excellent. I love dark chocolate, and being able to combine that with Acai and Blueberry is the perfect and easy snack!”

Buy BROOKSIDE Dark Chocolate with Acai and Blueberry from Walmart

Good & Gather Wild Berry Fruit Strips

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.”

Buy Good & Gather Wild Berry Fruit Strips from Target

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

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!”

Buy HEALTH WARRIOR Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Bars from Amazon

Daily Brazil Nut Multipacks

Daily Brazil Nut Multipacks shown as an example of mood-boosting foods

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.”

Buy Daily Brazil Nut Multipacks from Amazon

Somersaults Sunflower Seed Bites

Somersaults Sunflower Seed Bites shown as an example of mood-boosting foods

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.”

Buy Somersaults Sunflower Seed Bite from Amazon

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!



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