Did you know that the type of food your children eat directly impacts their ability to learn and focus? With school in session it’s important to have quick, easy, healthy, and kid friendly food choices at hand.
Recent studies have shown that children who skip or eat unhealthy breakfasts have an increased risk of obesity, decreased memory, diminished attention span, and poorer behavior. Choosing foods that are high in fiber, protein, and have a low glycemic index (GI) will have a beneficial effect on their academic performance and overall health. Fiber rich foods such as beans, nuts, and whole grains will help your child feel fuller longer and will eliminate the need to snack on sugary and empty calorie foods. Protein dense and low GI foods stabilize blood sugar levels and provide a steady flow of energy to the brain. This in turn makes a positive impact on memory and behavior both in and out of the classroom. The breakfast, lunch and snack ideas that follow are examples of fiber dense, protein rich, and low GI foods. So go ahead and treat yourself and your family to these fast, kid-friendly, and healthy food choices.
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, but it also seems to be the meal we have the least time for. The following meals are quick, healthy, and easy.
- Tasty Oatmeal – make non instant oatmeal according to package instructions; add chopped apples, dried fruit, some soy, rice or almond milk, and honey to taste (remember to avoid honey in children under 2)
- Simple Southwest Scramble – scramble a few eggs in a saucepan with diced red pepper (can substitute tofu for eggs and can add diced onions and hot peppers)
- Berry Good Smoothie – in a blender combine 1 scoop protein powder (whey, rice, soy, or goat milk), 1 ½ cups of frozen mixed berries, 8 ounces of milk (rice, soy, almond), and 1 T ground flaxseeds
In most places, school lunches leave much to be desired. Ensure that your kids are receiving all of the nutrients they need by packing them one of these healthy lunches.
- Natural PB & J – Spread almond butter over whole wheat bread and top with sliced bananas
- Veggie and hummus pita – Spread a layer of hummus on pita and add sprouts and sliced pepper, carrots, and other veggies of your choice (can also be made with grilled, steamed or baked veggies)
- Black bean burrito – Add black beans, diced tomato, lettuce, and cheddar or soy cheese (optional) to a whole wheat tortilla
In order to prevent your kids from reaching for chips, cookies, and ice cream have some of the following heal their snack choices on hand:
- Fruit slices dipped in yogurt
- Dried fruit, nuts, and seeds
- Vegetable sticks dipped in almond butter or hummus
These recipes won’t take long to prepare and you can feel better knowing you are providing your children with healthy and tasty meals.