Best Lunch Ideas for Kids’ Brains
With breakfast often touted as the most important meal of the day, it may be easy to miss the importance of lunch. But students, and adults, need to keep their brains powered throughout the day—and for that they need a healthy, balanced lunch. Not only should this meal be one-third of a person’s daily calorie intake, but it can also help students concentrate and power through the afternoon.
If maintaining a balanced diet for your student seems like too much of a challenge, take heart, there are ways to create the best lunches possible without all of the stress. Knowledge is power, so learn to incorporate “brain foods” into your child’s midday meal to get that mental edge.
The ability to concentrate and focus comes from the adequate, steady supply of energy—in the form of glucose—in our blood to the brain. You can achieve this by choosing whole grains with a low-GI, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Opt for whole grain bread with sandwiches stuffed with deli meat, or peanut butter and banana. The combination of peanut butter and bread provides protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc. Peanut butter is also a good choice for healthy unsaturated fats. Try to substitute high-sugar jelly with bananas, honey, or avocado to get an additional vitamin boost.
via The Roasted Root
Whether you like your eggs hard-boiled on top of a salad or mashed and mixed with Greek yogurt or avocado, eggs are a rich source of nutrition to help keep your brain and body charged because they offer a high-quality protein. Protein is a nutrient that helps you concentrate by keeping your blood sugar stabilized, so there’s no denying that eggs make eggs-perts. Eggs also have Choline, a B vitamin that plays a role in strengthening brain function and memory.
Oily fish, especially salmon, has essential fatty acids (EFAs) that our body cannot make and that must be obtained through diet. Experts say good sources of EFAs help brain cells communicate better with each other and are good for the heart, joint function, and general well-being. Try putting some salmon with creamy avocado, and spicy mayo on top of whole-grain toast for a filling, fiber- and protein-rich meal, and take on any fin you want!
The fats found in nuts and seeds, the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are vital to the health of our brains, immune and cardiovascular systems, skin, and hair. Additionally, nuts are rich in protein and fiber. Make sure you don’t miss out by adding flaxseeds to an afternoon smoothie, making your own nut and seed mix to munch on as an afternoon snack, or topping your favorite soup or salad with finely chopped almonds and walnuts.
It is recommended that we eat two cups of fruit a day, but the key to that is making sure you include blueberries or “brainberries” to help improve both learning capacity and motor skills. Having a small fruit salad as an afternoon snack or as part of lunch is an easy way to boost your student’s brain power, or you can make your own blueberry sherbet and add a valuable learning lesson while in the kitchen.
Now there are no excuses for side-stepping a good lunch for you or your kids. There are too many great lunch ideas to help you power them through the afternoon. Have ideas of your own? Share them in the comments below.
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- Why Eating Well Leads to Doing Well in School
Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.