As the children get into the full swing of being back to school after the summer indulgences, you’ll be planning out your weekly shop to ensure you cupboard is equipped to deal with all of those packed lunches once again. So we thought we would give you a little inspiration to think creatively to get children into a healthy mindset.
Having a plan for what you’re packing each day can be one of the keys to less stress and better success. Plus, you can get plenty of brain boosting ingredients which will help them to peak when others might be getting tired. Get them earning their gold stars straight from the off!
Try to include a tasty protein, some fresh fruits or vegetables, and some whole grains each day. Still stuck for ideas? We’ve gathered up our top lunch box suggestions for you – just to ease you back into the September term transition.
Antioxidants: September is still a great month for seasonal berries. Strawberries and raspberries are traditionally an English summer fruit but blackberries and blueberries are a great snack to pop into a little pot in early Autumn. They are loaded with antioxidants which help us absorb other nutrients. Blueberries in particular build communication receptors between brain cells.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids: These are really important for eye and brain development and to stabilise mood swings – something that plenty of children suffer from when they head back to the classroom! Oily fish like salmon is packed with omega-3s (the more the better for the brain’s sake) so how about salmon sandwiches? If not fish, then walnuts, eggs, greek yogurt, seaweed also have the same important ingredient. A cold hard boiled egg is an easy thing to include in a lunch box.
Lutein: Think colour! Vibrant foods like beetroot, spinach, kale and multi-coloured peppers contain an important nutrient that boosts eye health and brain function, hearing, and speech. Of course, the ingredients aren’t often on their ‘favourite’ list! So, try adding them to a brainpower smoothie.
Vitamin B is a particularly important part of brain health. This can be found in eggs (especially the yolk), peanuts, soybeans, oats and sesame seeds. Buy some health food bars available from special shops – and even many of the mainstream supermarkets.
Taurine: Ever heard of it? Possibly not. It’s yet another amino acid for the health of our vision, brain and central nervous system. Add chicken or turkey pieces, granola with greek yoghurt, eggs (again!) and seeds.
Zinc: This is really important for memory and thinking skills and can be found in nuts and particularly pumpkin. Try using some of those chicken pieces in a pumpkin bread sandwich (also available from supermarkets).
Potassium: Yet another special ingredient that helps send more oxygen to the brain. It’s found in bananas, oranges, yogurt and dried apricots. All easy enough to put in a packed lunch box.
Iron: This will help your kids to stay focused. It helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout the body which is crucial to the development of the brain and nervous system. Pack half a baked sweet potato, hard boiled eggs, spinach quiche, or a turkey wrap.