It’s hard to believe that summer 2017 is nearly winding down! Summer fun is at an all time high, and we’re maybe a little tired or even looking forward to the more structured day that school brings. I’ve always been a person who craves routine and structure, and school provided that for me, so as a kid I always looked forward to going back to school to see my friends and continue learning!
However, there was one thing I didn’t look forward to…school lunch! I definitely preferred a homemade lunch box full of goodies than cafeteria food, but I also didn’t want a plain ol’ PB&J with fruit snacks each day! In fact, it wouldn’t have been healthy nor beneficial intellectually to eat such a limited diet.
According to David Just, a doctor for behavioral economics in child nutrition programs, proper nutrition effects more than body composition. “For example, iron deficiency, even in early stages, can decrease dopamine transmission, thus negatively impacting cognition” (Just, 2014).
Additionally, many different vitamins and minerals provide the brain with the ability to reason, concentrate, and perceive information. These are all necessary cognition skills needed to perform positively in the classroom! It’s also no secret that malnutrition, or a poor diet, can lead to different behavioral problems.
Have you ever experienced being “hangry” (hungry/angry)? I know I have! Now imagine your school aged child feeling that way in the middle of class, but maybe not understanding that she may just be hungry! Being hungry can create a wave of emotions that young children may not be able to fully grasp. So what kind of foods can we provide our kids with that will benefit them the most? A lunch box should always contain a good source of protein, a healthy fat, fruits and veggies, fiber, and a complex carbohydrate.
That’s a lot of information, and possibly overwhelming, but don’t let that scare you! You can provide healthy, and interesting, lunches a lot easier than you think! There are many great resources for parents out there on how to do so, but a personal favorite of mine is www.rockthelunchbox.com.
Four different organic food companies have teamed up to provide you with information on how to keep the lunch box simple, creative, and most importantly, HEALTHY! They offer some great advice from experts around the nation- other parents.
So, as we’re wrapping up summer fun and thinking about back-to-school shopping soon, I encourage you to go ahead and start practicing making lunch! By the time school starts, you’ll be a pro at rocking the lunch box, and you could even share your ideas at rockthelunchbox.com. Remember, it’s more than a meal, it’s fuel for your child’s growing brain! Have fun and good luck!