There’s no denying that as a kid, school days feel long and tiring. Can you believe how many hours we all used to sit in those hard plastic chairs listening to teachers? Today, it’s hard for me to imagine spending 5+ hours in one of those awkward asymmetrical desks!
Now that the joys and pains of grade school are behind us, how can we take what we’ve learned as adults and use it to help our kids have more productive school days? If the problem is a lack of steady energy and ability to focus, the solution might come in a little brown bag, maybe a polka-dot lunch box, or a hip bento box!
Food is fuel, so let’s fuel our little learners with the right nutrition to get them through long school days. We’ve come up with four school lunch ideas to help you to pack healthy lunchboxes like a pro!
#1: PROTEIN IS POWER
High protein diets are all the rage right now (Paleo, Whole 30, etc). We don’t all have to eat like cavemen, but eating diverse sources of protein is important for maintaining consistent energy levels throughout the day!
Providing a healthy serving of protein at breakfast and lunch is the number one way you can help your kids stay productive and attentive throughout the day. The amino acids in protein-rich foods provide a steady source of energy, helping to increase motivation and concentration. Research has shown that high-protein diets can lessen symptoms of ADHD, producing better behavior, attentiveness, and social function.
Here are some school lunch ideas for kid-friendly proteins:
- Safe Catch Elite Tuna (35g of Protein per can!)
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Low sugar yogurt
- Sliced turkey
#2: OMEGA 3s ARE BRAIN FOOD
Remember when everyone started talking about “good fats” and “bad fats”? Well let me tell you, omega 3 fatty acids are most definitely “good fats,” maybe even the BEST fats!
Why are they so great? Well, omega-3s help enhance brain function and cognitive behavior. And they may be especially beneficial for improving behavioral symptoms of kids with ADHD. Research shows that omega 3’s can help with heart disease, blood pressure, brain function, mental health, hormone production and so much more.
Unfortunately, most American diets are actually deficient in omega 3s. There’s no reason to miss out on the benefits of this superfood, here are some school lunch ideas for getting omega 3s in the lunchbox:
- Safe Catch Elite Tuna (the only tuna brand that tests every fish for mercury!)
- Nuts: walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts
- Chia Seeds
- Smoked salmon
- Extra virgin olive oil
#3: FIBER IS YOUR FRIEND
Fiber has many positive health benefits, but one that is often overlooked is its ability to regulate our body’s sugar processing. Fibrous foods and whole grains slow down the speed at which sugar enters the bloodstream. That means that kids who eat foods with fiber may have more stable blood-sugar levels and avoid those dramatic energy crashes after eating.
Fiber is naturally occurring in most whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but it gets lost when fruit is processed (in smoothies, applesauce, fruity snacks, etc). So just try to incorporate some of these kid-friendly high-fiber foods:
- Grains: Whole wheat pasta/bread, quinoa, brown rice
- Fruit: Pears, apples, berries, bananas, avocados
- Legumes: Peas, lentils, black beans, edamame
- Plain popcorn
- Oat-based foods (but stay away from high sugar oat products!)
#4: SAY NO TO ADDED SUGAR
Sugar is everywhere, it has managed to sneak into even some of the least suspicious foods (what is ALL that sugar doing in my salad dressing?!) and it is one of the leading causes of the American obesity epidemic. You can blame the evil sugar industry or the low-fat diet craze, but the bottom line is that we need to start taking responsibility for the foods we put in our children’s bodies.
Glucose isn’t inherently bad, but this naturally addictive food quickly gets abused when products include high amounts of refined sugar. The biggest and most pervasive culprit of this is high fructose corn syrup, which is added to TONS of kids snacks and pre-made meals. So, trust me, I know it’s tempting to buy that 10lb. Costco box of fruit snack packs for your kids’ lunches, but it’s best to steer clear of all that added sugar!
Do your best to pack healthy school lunch foods that help students maintain balanced energy levels and maintain their focus in class. Here are some low-sugar kid-friendly school lunch ideas:
- Safe Catch Elite tuna (ZERO Sugar & ZERO Carbs)
- Cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, bell peppers
- Fresh fruit
- Cold cut meats
- Whole grain bread/crackers
- Greek yogurt with no sugar added
- String cheese
- Low sugar nut butter
I hope this list of school lunch ideas has inspired you to try packing your kids’ school lunches for better focus! It’s always a challenge to find healthy foods that kids will actually eat, but remember that good habits are formed at a young age, so putting in the effort now will pay off in the long run!
Need a quick refresher? Here are 4 school lunch ideas to help your kid focus:
- PROTEIN IS POWER
- OMEGA 3s ARE BRAIN FOOD
- FIBER IS YOUR FRIEND
- SAY NO TO ADDED SUGAR
Do you pack Safe Catch Elite tuna in your school lunches? We would love to see your stories, recipe ideas, and photos! Just send them to [email protected] and we will write about them in our next blog post!
Thanks for reading!
Eat Pure. Live Pure.
– The Safe Catch Team