Today is Part 2 in a series of three posts featuring recipes that contain brain-boosting ingredients. In Part 1, we presented a round-up of healthy breakfast recipes for kids. Today, we present Part 2, which focuses on healthy lunch recipes for kids. Our last post in this series will feature healthy snack recipes for kids.
Where has the summer gone? Although the summer always seems to start out slow, as soon as July is over, time just seems to fly and before you know it, the slow, lazy days of summer are gone, all too quickly. Mentally, I’m starting to prepare myself for more scheduled days, getting up early and making my kids a healthy breakfast, packing lunches and planning dinners to fit into everyone’s busy fall schedules.
Kids have such long days – they get up early and need to be able to concentrate from their first class to the last, before heading off to after school activities and hunkering down to do their homework. In between all their activities and homework, they need to eat and nourish their brains and their bodies.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure each and every meal they eat counts. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, there are certain foods that are especially good for the brain because they contain nutrients that help improve and maintain focus, and improve brain health.
That’s why I decided to put together this series called Food for the Brain. If you missed our roundup of Breakfast Foods for the Brain, please be sure to check it out.
Although breakfast may be the most important meal of the day to kick the day off, it’s just as important to pack a brain-boosting lunch. Fueling your child with brain-boosting foods throughout the day can make the difference between them staying focused from the minute they start their school day until they get their homework done, or not.
Thanks to my blogging friends for sharing these healthy brain-boosting lunch recipes and ideas to help keep our kids’ brains and bodies fueled throughout the day.
BRAIN-BOOSTING LUNCH IDEAS
The key to keeping your kids’ brains at peak level into the afternoon is by packing them a brain-boosting lunch. Refer back to our list of Brain-Boosting Foods when putting your child’s lunch together. Try to include a protein, some fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains each day. How about a tuna or salmon salad sandwich, or a chicken or turkey sandwich with some baby spinach or romaine lettuce tucked in. All you need is a small container of berries to round out their lunch.
I love sneaking in some healthy leafy greens by spreading some Kale Pesto on sandwiches (your kids will never know there’s kale in this). This Chicken Tomato and Avocado Quesadilla is an example where I snuck in some leafy green vegetables in the form of Kale Pesto at lunchtime. These quesadillas are made with corn tortillas, a spread of Kale Pesto, and a layer of grilled chicken, tomato, avocado and a slice of cheese.
Make lunchtime even more fun by cutting sandwiches into cute shapes or serving them in a bento box.
How cute is this Hearts Hands Lunchbox by Bentoriffic – packed with a rainbow assortment of fruits and vegetables, and these cute cut-out sandwiches made with whole grain bread, nut butter and jelly.
Here’s another brain-boosting lunchbox idea, this one from Green Lite Bites. Walnuts, eggs, whole grain bread, canteloupe and red bell peppers make this meal complete.
If you’re looking for a meatless option, these Butternut Squash & Chickpea Patties with Grape-Avocado Salad served in whole grain pita bread (or whole grain tortilla wrap) by Cara’s Cravings would be perfect.
Get adventurous with sandwiches and try these Spinach Pancakes (gluten-free) in place of bread by Spabettie. Just spread them with Hummus and layer on some tomatoes and baby spinach or baby kale.
If you have a child who’s gluten-free and doesn’t like feeling left out when chicken tenders are on the lunch menu, pack some of these Baked Gluten-Free Chicken Strips from With Style & Grace in their lunchbox, along with some fresh fruit and vegetables.
Think out-of-the-box for lunch for more ideas. These mini Baked Eggs & Veggies To Go from Inspired Edibles aren’t just for breakfast – think of these as little frittatas packed with protein and nutrients.
For more brain-boosting lunch ideas, check out Healthy Baby Bean’s Creative Ideas for School Lunch – Get out of the PB & J Rut post, which includes lots of suggestions for different sandwich bases, fun spreadables, and toppings or “sprinkles”.
Marla of Family Fresh Cooking has a series called Project Lunchbox with lots of fun ideas, and even started a Lunch Box Pinterest Board.
I hope you’ve found some inspiration from all of these lunch ideas – just remember to pack as many brain-boosting foods in your children’s sandwiches and lunch boxes to help ensure they stay focused and energetic throughout their busy school day.
And if you missed our roundup of Healthy Brain-Boosting Breakfast Recipes, be sure to check it out.
Kid’s Brain Foods, Prevention
Foods That Boost Brain Power, Eating Well
Foods That Boost Brainpower, Prevention
Eat for a Sharper Mind: 5 Brain-Boosting Foods, Eating Well
Brain-Boosting Food for Kids, What To Expect
Folic Acid, University of Maryland Medical Center
Health Benefits of DHA, NCBI
Nourishing Your Noggin, MedicineNet
Iron in brain function and dysfunction with emphasis on Parkinson’s disease, NCBI
10 Foods To Help Boost Your Brain Power, CNN
An Apple or Two a Day Can Save Your Brain – The Buffalo News