As a former teacher, I have seen the impact that food can have on children’s attention spans.
I’ve worked in both high and low decile schools and when it comes to food, there are two factors can contribute to a child’s levels of alertness at school: Having enough quantity-wise and having enough nutritionally.
That being said, for all parents, we need to remember that you are doing the best you can and so try not to stress too much if your child’s lunchbox isn’t as nutritious as you’d like it to be, or if you child isn’t eating what you’ve packed.
Getting enough sleep, learning stimulating topics and physical activity will all have an impact on a child’s learning while at school. Food can also play a role and there are certainly some that help our children’s brains and bodies to function as well as they can.
Veggies and fruit: If there’s one thing we will all benefit from, it’s having more fruits and veggies. Especially for growing bodies! That being said getting our children to eat fruits and veggies can be a tricky task for some. Start with the ones that they DO like. Kids love finger foods such as cherry tomatoes, blueberries, carrot sticks, or cucumber wedges. And all of these are portable and easy to prepare.
One of my favourite treats as a child was ‘ants on a log’; celery sticks spread with peanut butter and a few sultanas or raisins on top. Is your child turned off of apple sticks because they go brown? Try dusting them with cinnamon – they’ll be one the wiser and they taste great.
Not into veggies or fruit? Don’t panic, Nuzest Kids Stuff can be a great alternative and there’s a flavour for anyone. Keep it cold or grab yourself a shaker for them to use at school so they can shake it up fresh.
Healthy fats: Fats are great for our brain – and there are lots of ways to ensure that your little ones are getting a variety of healthy fats through the day. Nuts can be a great source at home though some schools may not allow them. Seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds can be a good alternative and chia seeds added to your Nuzest Kids Stuff smoothies could also be a great way to get omega oils.
Protein: Protein will keep their tummies full and minds off food through the day. Cooked chicken, eggs (if they don’t mind the smell) and Nuzest Kids stuff are great ways to add some protein to their day.
Carbohydrates: Carbs are great for active little bodies! They are a source of energy and fibre. Wraps, bliss balls, sandwiches, homemade muffins – these can all be great sources of carbohydrates.
So how can you get your child to eat up that lunch box? One of the best tips I can offer is to give children choice. Get them involved in the lunch packing and shopping process whenever possible. Have them choose 1 fruit, 1 veg, or what flavour of Nuzest Kids Stuff they would like. Ask them if they feel like wraps, crackers or sandwiches that day or week. Older kids can pretty much pack their lunches themselves – I encourage you to let them have a go.
Lunch packing (and eating) doesn’t have to be a battle and knowing what foods are great for energy and learning along with giving them choice will certainly give them a boost while at school but don’t be too hard on yourself should those carrot sticks come home untouched! We are all doing the best we can.