NUTRITION & BACK TO SCHOOL
Back to School: How to Pack Nutritious, Brain-Boosting Lunches
8 January 2018
As parents, we want to see our kids succeed in school and grow into high-achieving, healthy and happy adults. One simple way we can help them is by sending them off with nutritious lunches containing brain-boosting foods.
Now is the time to teach your kids how to eat clean for optimum brain performance and overall health benefits. It’s also the time to train their taste buds to crave healthy foods. Even though kids all around them might be eating processed foods that they might want also (chips, ding dongs, bologna sandwiches), teach them that some of that stuff isn’t really “food”, but manufactured food-like stuff. Tell them you’re giving them the real thing.
Since food allergies are are on the rise, make sure to check your school’s guidelines to see if there are any foods you shouldn’t pack, such as nuts (like the almonds and walnuts we recommend below).
Here are a few foods from mindbodygreen.com’s list of “20 Foods To Naturally Increase Your Brain Power” that could be packed into your child’s lunches:
BLUEBERRIES: This should be no surprise – there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of articles written about this nutrient-dense little fruit. It’s packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.
EGGS: Just hard-boil them for an easy-to-eat, highly nutritious, high quality protein. They contain all 8 essential amino acids along with vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, E, D, K, lecithin selenium, zinc, iron and copper.
Pasture-raised eggs are a great source of protein and vitamins
WALNUTS: Some experts argue that walnuts are the most health-inducing nuts to eat on the planet. Walnuts have omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, the B vitamin Biotin, manganese, copper and molybdenum.
ALMONDS: Like their cousin the walnut, almonds have vitamin E, magnesium and health fats. They are also a great source of protein.
PUMPKIN SEEDS: When you think of pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas), think magnesium and zinc. Some people claim that a healthy level of zinc in the body wards off the common cold, along with aiding many other important physiological functions.
DARK CHOCOLATE: Now, we’re not talking sugar-laden candies here. We’re talking 70%-86% cacao with plenty of antioxidants and essential minerals. But, eat in moderation.
GREENS (like spinach, broccoli and kale): We know that leafy greens are good for us in so many ways. A recent study by the University of Illinois shows that lutein, which is found in these foods, could aid in cognitive function.
ANYTHING MADE WITH OLIVE OIL, COCONUT OIL OR AVOCADO OIL: Your kids’ brains and bodies need healthy fats, which can be found in these oils. Avoid vegetable, soy and canola oils, which can be unhealthy due to GMOs or partial hydrogenation.
For the best health, always shop organic produce, pastured eggs, and raw nuts & seeds, which can often be bought in bulk!
Here are some lunch ideas to pack in a week of maximum nutrition:
- Easy avocado egg salad
- Homemade trail mix made of raw walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate chips
- Blueberries with sliced strawberries
- Chicken-avocado-apple filling in a coconut wrap
- Broccoli-carrot-walnut salad
- Kind Bar – dark chocolate chili almond
- Grilled chicken spinach salad with pumpkin seeds (keep some leftovers for Friday)
- Organic hummus (store bought or make your own) and crackers
- Larabar – Pecan Pie
- Chicken or turkey sandwich with spinach and kale instead of lettuce
- Siete GrainFree Tortilla Chips
- 1 orange
- Grilled chicken spinach salad leftovers from Wednesday in a coconut wrap
- Homemade trail mix with raw walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds
- Lemon-Blueberry Muffin Freezer Fudge
Here’s to a successful school year with healthy and happy kids!