Picky eaters might be onto something. Studies show that the quality of food served during school lunch can affect academic success.
Parents should prepare children for success with food to feed your brain. Take a look at this list of school lunch ideas that include a variety of brain superfoods.
Foods that Feed Your Brain
School lunches are under attack. Sugary snacks filled with empty calories provide the convenience parents crave helping them cut hours of food prep time off their week.
It’s time to reclaim the power of the school lunch. Eating a colorful diet is one of the easiest ways to find foods that feed your brain.
But school lunches need more consideration than color because the food needs to travel well in order to still taste good during lunchtime.
Here are the top brain superfoods to include in your child’s lunchbox each day:
- Fatty fish
- Greek yogurt
- Dark greens
- Pumpkin seeds
These ingredients combat common issues like brain fog and sluggishness during the day, helping your child’s brain stay alert without the help of sugary snacks.
Here are some superfood recipes that also taste great, making them perfect for school lunch.
Salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3s and vitamin D making them excellent choices for school lunch. Fish tacos provide the perfect support for focus during the school day.
More than half of the brain is made up of fat. Of the fat in the brain, half of it consists of omega-3s.
Fish helps protect the brain from declining mental skills and memory loss. Blend fried or grilled fish with a crispy mix of chopped cabbage tossed in tartar sauce.
If your child doesn’t like sauce, replace it with low fat shredded cheese instead. This school lunch can be made ahead by keeping the fish and wraps separately from the slaw/sauce.
Eggs are also on the list of brain superfoods. The protein and nutrients in eggs add to a child’s concentration while learning.
Vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline are a power team that helps regulate your mood and memory. Get creative when serving eggs for lunch by making a breakfast pizza.
A combination of sauteed greens, cheese, turkey sausage, and a fried egg makes a tasty mid-day treat. Serve on whole-wheat pita bread to create the pizza.
This lunch should be made the day of to maintain its freshness.
Korean Rice Bowl
One great way to incorporate more veggies and flavor into your child’s lunch is through a Korean Rice Bowl. Korean Rice Bowl comes with carrots, spinach, and bean sprouts. A flavor-rich chili pepper and tamari sauce will make the dish come to life.
Rice bowls are also a great dish to make at home for dinner, then serve the leftovers in your child’s lunch. You can use it to sneak in broccoli, which is important for brain health because it is unusually high in Vitamin K. Vitamin K is another memory aid that helps the body absorb sphingolipids, a type of fat found in the brain. If your child just won’t eat broccoli, any dark leafy green makes a good substitute. A good stir fry mix will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
Mixed Berry Oatmeal with Pumpkin Seeds
Another breakfast for lunch idea is oatmeal. Mixing berries into the oatmeal makes it special.
Serve your child oatmeal in a thermos, to keep it warm until lunchtime, with a side container filled with blueberries, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. This recipe combination is the ultimate lunch to feed your brain.
Oatmeal improves heart health which is important for keeping brain arteries clear. Blueberries are antioxidants that help protect against inflammation.
Studies have shown that blueberries also help communication between brain cells. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron.
These vitamins and minerals work together to keep away brain fog by ensuring nerve signals in the brain reach their proper destination.
Pair with sliced apples and nut butter to create a protein-rich meal.
Greek Yogurt Parfait
Greek yogurt parfaits are a healthy lunch treat that is also protein-rich. Add a variety of mix-ins like whole-grain cereal, mixed berries, and dark chocolate chips.
The fat in Greek yogurt is where the brain food lies. Both blueberries and dark chocolate contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant.
Serve yogurt parfait in a large plastic container leaving room for the mix-ins. This lunch can be made ahead by storing all the ingredients separately.
Sunbutter and Jelly Sandwich
Some days you won’t have time to meal prep for your child’s lunch. Aim for a sunbutter sandwich with strawberry preserves.
This sandwich is rich in vitamin E which aids vision, blood circulation, and brain health. Vitamin E that occurs naturally in food has strong antioxidant properties to protect cells from free radicals.
Most sandwiches can be made the night before as long as you apply a modest amount of preserves and refrigerate it overnight.
School Lunches that Boost Nutrition
There are many reasons to opt-out of school lunches served at school. One reason is the lack of control over the freshness of ingredients.
Foods that feed your brain are best when served fresh or frozen. Avoid canned vegetables for school lunches as they can add an unnecessary amount of sodium.
If you run out of lunch ideas, ask your child to pitch in to help with lunch planning. Show them the list of brain superfoods and create a weekly menu together.
Putting them in control means less waste comes home because they’ll be eating meals they like.
To take all the hassle out of school lunch preparation, bring The Lunch Mob to your school. We are a healthy lunch service that is easy for both the school and the parents, offering a wide selection for kids to choose from that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Check out more about what we offer and how to get The Lunch Mob at your school.