Did you know that when a child is born, his brain size is only about a quarter of the adult size brain, and that by age two, it will reach about three quarters of the adult size? And, by age five, a child’s brain will be close to adult size and volume. Amazing, right?

Just as fast as kids whiz from classrooms to activities and back home again, their brains are just as rapidly growing and changing. Psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD. and co-author of The Happiness Diet and Fifty Shades of Kale, says “The foods that kids eat are critical for brain development, and what they eat affects focus and cognitive skills.”

Turns out that your child’s report card hinges on more than study skills, classroom participation and math tutors! It also depends on breakfast, lunch and dinner … and, off course, the right snacks never hurt.

We’re all aware that nutritious, healthy foods will keep concentration levels high and hyperactivity (often caused by sugar) low. However, while families may serve healthy meals at home, school lunch boxes are often filled with junk food lacking brain boosting vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.

Kids need balanced meals that include protein, wholegrains, complex carbs, good fats, fruit and vegetables. Yes, even in their lunch boxes!

But seriously, can you envisage your child happily trotting off to school with a box of sprouting mung beans! Healthy? Yes. Inviting? No. So, how do you set them up for success and keep them going until the last bell rings?

Just like you, your kids eat with their eyes and with a bit of effort, lunch boxes can be healthy, fun and delicious!

First of all, bump up the colour. Increase the “wow factor” by adding all-natural foods such as carrots, cucumbers, blueberries, cherry tomatoes or strawberries. Be a little goofy and skewer these, use toothpicks for cheese, or add a tasty dip or hummus, so fun! True, greens are not easy to sell but some crunchy, lightly salted kale chips could do the trick. Have fun with shapes. Cut almond butter sandwiches into shapes with a cookie cutter, or cut a wholegrain wrap filled with coleslaw and tuna into bite-size wheels.  Add a few wholegrain crackers with some unexpected sweetness – maybe a tiny container with some honey? Or, fill a whole-wheat tortilla with scrambled eggs, yum! Eggs are packed with protein and may boost mood and keep the nervous system in check. Must be easy to eat. Sugar snap peas or fruit and veggies cut into manageable matchsticks are easier to eat. Apples and plums are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that fights the decline of mental skills. Offer variety. Pack at least 3 different types of food every day. Think of it as a meal on a plate. Protein, carbs, fresh produce and a wholesome treat on the side. A delicious, easy to make oats cookie, for extra energy, could sweeten the deal. Get creative with what’s available.  Make dinners with lunches in mind, it’s a total time saver. Roast chicken can be turned into sarmies and wholegrain pasta into salads. Use olive oil in the salad dressing, or maybe a yogurt dressing for that extra calcium punch.

So mom and dad, get creative and don’t just feed, but nourish your child. Stimulate brain development by boosting all meals with brain-healthy foods.

Source: www.bbcgoodfood.com, inhabitat.com, www.parenting.com, www.womansday.com, donvalemeec.org, www.you.co.za, www.urbanmommies.com, el-observador.com, health.wyo.gov, www.thedatingdivas.com, www.parent24.com, www.momtastic.com, amomwithalessonplan.com, www.theorganickitchen.org, www.webmd.com, wwww.dailymail.co.uk, www.prevention.com, www.womanshealthmag.com, bebrainfit.com, www.oprahmag.co.za, www.realbuzz.com, flintobox.com, health.usnews.com, therahealth.com  

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.