Brain food is food that can boost the function of our brain, with a strong focus on immunity and viral protection, as well as mental and emotional well-being. Our children spend so much time at school. For maths, English, sciences, or when playing at recess, their brain works a lot. This post is to rediscover easy food choices that can support our kid’s brain development and mental health, today and in the future.
But, first thing first…
Why Our Kids’ Food Intakes Matter
Nutrition is a critical environmental factor that influences brain function and behavior. It impacts our energy and concentration levels and affects our relations, – eating is a social act, and emotions. School years are essential both for brain development and for developing positive habits, that also become ingrained in our brain circuits explains Anne Bargiacchi, Wellness Coordinator at the LFSF and Mental Health specialist.
As in many parenting areas, goals and challenges are not the same depending on the kids’ developmental stage, but whatever the age, it is a learning process. Elementary kids are discovering and learning what a balanced meal means. Teens usually understand and know what they should eat to be “healthy,” but their eating behaviors don’t always match and reflect that knowledge. Indeed, while we may think of food as a bodily need that requires a rational approach, to teenagers, emotions, and meanings usually play a much more significant role.
Keep in mind that when you are preparing or guiding children to prepare their lunch boxes, you are not only ‘feeding’ them, but also modeling food habits. You can model the behavior you would like to see, introduce healthy foods, and at the same time, support self-reflection for their own choices by encouraging your kid to tune into their own body, and their internal cues, and support them in learning self-regulation and positive eating habits.Anne Bargiacchi, Wellness Coordinator at the LFSF and Mental Health Specialist.
Popular Brain Food Ideas
You can find many articles about food and nutrition, such as this post from Harvard Medical School, “Foods linked to better Brainpower”. Here is our selection of top brain foods that are also so kid-friendly.
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna, because of the high levels of omega-3s
- Eggs, because they are a good source of vitamin B that may prevent brain shrinkage and delay cognitive decline.
- Green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli or spinach (yes, kids can eat these)
- Whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, whole-grain bread, or whole-grain pasta, because they bring vitamin E that contributes to improved cognition.
- Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries, because they contain antioxidants that help by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Seeds and nuts, such as flaxseed, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, and cashews, because they have healthy fats that may reduce blood pressure, and high blood pressure is linked to cognitive decline.
- Dark chocolate because it contains a type of antioxidant, flavonoids, that also helps reduce oxidative stress (and it is such a treat!)
Kids’ School Lunch Ideas with Brain Foods
1. Sandwiches filled with scrambled eggs.
In Amandacoughran’s lunchbox idea, shared on Teuko.com, the scrambled-egg sandwiches are wrapped in lettuce leaves. On the side, fresh fruits – melon, green grapes, and berries. What an appetizing lunch!
2. Smocked salmon with lentils
Jenna shared this lunchbox idea on Teuko and this lunch is just a feast for the brain and our eyes to see! In her MonBento box, in one compartment is salmon with lentils, and in the other compartment, you’ll find plenty of orange veggies, such as butternut squash, onion, and carrots… yum!
3. Spinach Savory Cakes
This is a lunchbox idea by Jessica, shared on Teuko. Mixing a savory cake batter with spinach leaves and bacon, pork or chicken bacon, takes only 5 minutes. You can prepare dinner while the 30 min cooking time in the oven. It’s such a fun and yummy way for kids to eat their greens!
On the side, you’ll find cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks. For dessert, plain yogurt is mixed with diced strawberries.
Use our easy recipe “Savory French Cake Salé Made Easy!” for making these yummy spinach savory cakes!
Snack Ideas for Kids with Brain Foods
4. Red and Blue Berries
It does not have to be complicated to pack a snack with brain foods. Look at the simple, and yet, efficient snack, The Pinwheelers packed in small stainless steel containers: one small container with raspberries, the second one with blueberries. Perfect for snacking in the morning and after school!
5. A Super Trio Snack
Last, in the “Pretty Little Snacks for Picky Little Eaters”, a snack idea shared by PrettyLittleThings570 on Teuko.com, you’ll find not one, not two, but three brain foods at once: peanut butter, blueberries, and dark chocolate. Associated with a few pretzels, snap peas, and tortilla wraps, this will help fuel a kid’s brain, for sure.
How did you like this article? Did you find new food inspiration that you are ready to try? Explore more combinations of lunch or snacks by searching Teuko.com for the food or theme that fits your preferences.
Disclaimer – This post is in partnership with The Lycee Francais de San Francisco. All opinions are our own. Also, as Amazon’s affiliate company, if you buy some products from some links inserted in the text of this blog post, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale. Any feedback? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org