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How to Pack a School Lunch Your Kid Will Eat (Slideshow)

How to Pack a School Lunch Your Kid Will Eat (Slideshow)


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Ready to beat the lunch box blues? These foolproof lunch tips will get your kid packed and out the door in no time

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"Lunchables aren’t popular because they taste good. Kids like them because they like building their own lunches. So, assemble your own out of better ingredients and for less money. Pack a selection of crackers (you’ll get extra credit for whole grain), hunks of chicken or leftover steak, and sliced cheeses. Pair it with cucumber slices and fruit and you have a complete DIY meal kit. Or, do a combination of crackers, salami, pepperoni, sliced cherry tomatoes, and hunks of cheese for a build-your-own pizza kit."

— J.M. Hirsch

DIY Rules!

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"Lunchables aren’t popular because they taste good. Hirsch

Wrap That Rascal

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"Just about anything can be turned into maki-style 'sushi.' No seafood needed. Lay out a whole-wheat tortilla, then spread a thin coat of cream cheese. Top it with whatever — leftover cooked vegetables, deli meats, leftover steak, or chicken off the grill — really, whatever. Roll it up and slice it into 1-inch rounds. Or go another direction — spread peanut butter over the tortilla and wrap a banana and a slice of bacon in it. Elvis-style sushi lives!"

— J.M. Hirsch

Pasta Overload

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"Whether you make a little or a lot, pasta takes about 10 minutes to cook. So you might as well make a lot and use the leftovers as an easy building block for lunch the next day. Toss cooked pasta (any shape) in a saucepan with grated cheese, sour cream, and a splash of hot sauce for an easy two-minute mac and cheese (pack it hot in a thermos). Or toss cold with leftover vegetables (anything goes), any leftover meat (or not), and vinaigrette for an instant pasta salad."

— J.M. Hirsch

Think Outside the Sandwich Loaf

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"There are a lot of ways to make sandwiches that don’t involve sliced bread, so get creative. Everything from graham crackers, tortillas, and rice cakes to pita breads, naan, even leftover pancakes, and frozen waffles can be pressed into service. FYI, when making pancakes on the weekend, make extra. They freeze well and make killer PB&Js (make the sandwiches when they’re frozen — they thaw by lunch)."

— J.M. Hirsch

No Chip Off the Old Block

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"Oh, come on — it’s 2013. Chips these days don’t have to mean deep-fried potatoes. You can buy beet chips and sweet potato chips and rice chips and whole-grain, gluten-free pretzels, and kale chips and puffed crispy vegetables and pea snaps… and you get the idea. Crunchy, salty snacks no longer have to be total junk food."

— J.M. Hirsch

Chill Out!

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"Keep a bag of frozen cooked shrimp in the freezer. They thaw perfectly overnight in the refrigerator and can be used in sandwiches, salads or — if you or your kid is feeling decadent — be paired straight up with cocktail sauce."

— J.M. Hirsch

Stupid Themes

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"Does it matter to you what shape your food is? Probably not. But kids totally get off on this stuff. So pack an all-round lunch (hard-boiled egg, grapes, cherry tomatoes, tiny mozzarella balls, an orange, even a chocolate truffle). Or go for mini everything (mini bananas, baby bagels, mini carrots, baby cukes, mini bell peppers, sandwiches made with cocktail-size bread, etc.). Themes may seem silly, but they get total buy-in from kids."

— J.M. Hirsch

Stick It!

Thinkstock/iStockphoto

"For kids, food on a stick is better than food not on a stick. Don’t know why. It just is. So get yourself some bamboo skewers and make kebabs out of whatever you have handy — fruit, leftover cooked meat (with sour cream or spicy peanut sauce to dip), even cheese and berries. One tip — use kitchen shears to snip off the pointy tips of the skewers after you thread the food on. It’s so much easier than getting a call from the principal after Little Johnny spears his friends."

— J.M. Hirsch

Don’t Fear Convenience

Thinkstock/iStockphoto

"There are plenty of convenience lunch items you don’t have to feel guilty about. You pay a premium for the ease, but on crazy mornings sometimes it’s worth it. Check out the prepared cheese and meat (think salami and mozzarella) packs at specialty stores like Trader Joe’s. Or the packaged crepes (filled with fresh fruit, meat, or cheese) at the grocer. Jerky is a low-fat, low-carb, high-protein instant snack that tastes awesome (and comes in all sorts of varieties, including vegan, salmon, and organic). Popcorn — even when coated with powdered "cheese," is still a whole grain. Single-serve salsa packs — perfect for dipping whole-grain chips or vegetables. You get the idea. Smart choices are out there as long as you look for them."

— J.M. Hirsch


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


What you pack in your kid's school lunch can improve their concentration and focus

Little kids aren't known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that's often what's needed to succeed in school.

Little kids aren’t known for their ability to sit still, concentrate and focus—and yet that’s often what’s needed to succeed in school. What many parents don’t realize is the huge role that proper nutrition plays in this.

Here are my top five nutrition tips to help your child focus and concentrate in school.

1. Serve a breakfast with staying power
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (it really is!), especially for kids on school days. A breakfast with “staying power” will keep your kids satisfied and energized for at least a couple of hours. It will also keep their blood sugar levels stable and their tummies full. Staying-power foods contain at least one of these key nutrients:

a) Dietary fibre (especially soluble fibre) provides a sense of satiety (a feeling of fullness), slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Fibre-rich foods to include in breakfasts include rolled oats nuts, seeds and nuts/seed butter beans/lentils fruit and veggies and high fibre, low-sugar breakfast cereal.

b) Protein not only builds and maintains our body’s tissues, but it also keeps kids (and adults) full and satisfied for longer, because it’s digested slowly. Good protein-rich breakfast foods are eggs dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese nuts and seeds tofu beans and lentils and some whole grains such as quinoa and oats.

c) Dietary fat is naturally occurring in animal foods and some plant foods too. Aside from the many roles that dietary fat plays in the body, fat is digested slowly (like protein), which helps to keep kids full and satisfied, and helps to sustain their energy levels and keep hunger at bay. Foods that contain fat are include nuts/seeds/oils avocado eggs and diary foods.

Ideas for breakfasts with staying power:

  • Oatmeal + milk + berries
  • Flourless protein muffins + fruit
  • Eggs + whole grain toast + apple + Greek yogurt + peaches
  • Whole grain cereal + milk + banana
  • Greek yogurt parfait + nuts and seeds + berries
  • Fruit, veggie and lentil smoothie + whole grain toast + natural peanut butter

Pack a “snacky” lunch
Snacky lunches are my favourite kind to pack, and my kids’ favourite type to eat! They create an opportunity to include lots of variety, colour, and texture, which makes kids’ lunches more appealing and increases the chances of them actually eating it. When I’m packing my kids snacky lunch, I usually use a bento box and I try to include five things:

1. Two protein-rich foods (things like leftover cut-up meat, leftover homemade chicken fingers, hard-boiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, cheese cubes, etc.)

2. At least one fruit (apple, pear, berries, peach, cut-up melon, grapes, etc.)

3. At least one veggie (carrot sticks, cucumber coins, sugar snap peas, radishes, pepper strips, etc.)

4. A dip (hummus, ranch, tzatziki, Greek yogurt + cinnamon dip, etc.)

5. At least one whole grain food (leftover French toast or pancake strips, whole grain crackers, whole grain tortilla, whole grain mini pitas, homemade whole grain muffin or bar, etc.).

Don’t worry about whether each food “fits” together—kids don’t care! The main thing is that you’re including a good balance of nutrients and lots of variety.

3. Make sure there’s enough omega-3
Many of us forget about omega-3—after all, we’re just trying to get semi-nutritious meals into our kids. But this is one nutrient that we don’t want to ignore. Omega-3s (specifically DHA and EPA), which are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, and trout, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and Omega-3 enriched eggs, are key for your child’s brain power, because they help to maintain memory, focus, concentration and mood. Serving fatty fish twice a week is the best way to meet omega-3 requirements. If fish just isn’t happening, that’s OK, but consider a regulated kid’s Omega-3 supplement, and ask your paediatrician or paediatric dietitian for guidance on dosage.

4. Minimize refined, processed and high sugar snack foods
Although store-bought snack foods such as crackers, cookies, “fruit” snacks or higher-sugar granola bars are easy (and fine once in a while for fun), they tend to spike our kids’ blood sugar levels (which quickly drop thereafter) and don’t provide a whole lots of nutrition. Not to mention that they disrupt insulin regulation, and promote inflammation and oxidative stress (this does not help in the brain department!).

Instead, serve and pack nutrient-dense snacks—real foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, meat, beans, dairy etc. The essential nutrients found in these foods work together to not only boost your kids’ overall health, but also help them to concentrate and focus. My favourite snack combination is one with a protein-rich food paired with a fruit or vegetable. Think Greek yogurt + berries, or hummus and snap peas.

5. Include these 3 brain-boosting foods
There are certain foods that contain nutrients and properties that have been shown to boost brain function, improve memory, and improve concentration and focus.

Berries: Anti-oxidant-rich berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) can help to protect your child’s brain from free-radical and oxidative damage. They’re also high in fibre!

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which can help to keep your child fuller longer, sustaining their energy levels and allowing them to focus and concentrate for longer periods of time. They are also rich in Vitamin A and D, choline (which can boost cognitive function) and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which both promote healthy vision.

Fatty fish: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and trout not only are some of the best sources of Omega-3 fat, but they’re also rich in vitamin D, iron and many other nutrients that can improve brain function (and health!). Aim for two servings per week.


Watch the video: HOT LUNCHES and NO SANDWICHES! School Lunch Ideas for KIDS