Crunch Time: Brain Boosting Foods for Final Exams

kale chipsAs our students head into final exams over the next few weeks, keep in mind that what they eat (along with good sleep habits and physical activity) can have an impact on their academic performance. Certain foods like salmon, nuts, and avocados are rich in healthy fats that enhance memory and brain function. In addition, leafy greens, berries, and apples all contain fiber and powerful compounds that help with memory and improve blood flow to the brain. Remember not to rely heavily on caffeine or refined carbohydrates like sweets or soda. Too much caffeine can leave you feeling jittery and uncomfortable. And concentrated sweets can spike your blood sugar, but result in a quick drop, leaving you feeling mentally dull.

I put these kale chips to the test with 5 discriminating palates – my kids! We are a large blended family and it is always a balance to find foods that are both healthy and family-friendly. While perhaps no match for Cool Ranch Doritos, they received a coveted 5 thumbs-up! What more can I ask for?

Kale Chips

Makes 4 servings (about 2 cups each)


  • 1 large bunch or bag of kale, tough stems removed, leaves torn into pieces (about 16 cups)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher or sea salt


  1. Position racks in upper third and center of oven; Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Rinse, then thoroughly dry kale with a paper towel; transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat.
  3. Spread kale onto baking sheets in a single layer. If using multiple pans, you may want to turn the pans and switch from top to bottom after 4-5 minutes to prevent burning. Bake until leaves are crisp, about 8-12 minutes total.

Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


110 calories; 5 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber; 210 mg sodium; 642 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: A serving contains 767% of your daily value for Vitamin A, 192% for Vitamin C, and 20% for calcium. 

Nancy Anderson, MPH, RD, LD is a registered dietitian at Nutrifit, Sport, Therapy, Inc. She works with individuals and families to make healthy eating a way of life.

Contact her at: 770-395-7331




Click to view website »


Nancy Anderson, MPH, RD, LD
Nancy Anderson