Nutrition for active minds

Nutrition for Active Minds

It is important for your child to start the day with breakfast as studies have shown that children who don’t have breakfast have trouble concentration in the morning.  Breakfast should ideally include a source of carbohydrate and protein and it is also a good time to try and get a source of fruit or dairy in.  Some good examples include:

  • A bowl of cereal with milk
  • Muesli with yoghurt  and fruit
  • Piece of wholegrain toast + glass of milk
  • Fruit smoothie made on reduced fat milk, fruit and dash of honey/yoghurt

If your child finds it hard to eat in the morning, offer something simple such as a piece of fruit, glass of milk or piece of toast.  Or simply a sandwich on the drive in if they struggle to eat in the mornings.   Trying to get something, rather than nothing, will help fuel their brain before their morning break!

Filling their lunch box with nutritious snacks will also help keep their performance and energy levels up throughout the day.  It is sometimes hard to find food that is interesting and still looks appetizing throughout the day.  Remember to:

  • Always include a cold/frozen drink bottle with water to keep snacks cool or cooler pack
  • Include something from each food groups: breads/cereals, vegetables/salad, fruit, dairy or alternative and meat or alternative.

Some snack options include:

-        Vegetables stick with hommus or tzatziki

-        Crispbreads (preferably wholegrain such as vitaweats, multigrain salads, ryvitas) with cheese or spread

-        Fruit  - fresh or packages/canned in natural juice (aim for 2 serves per day)

-        Yoghurt

-        Rice crackers, corn thins, rice thins

-        Milk drinks

-        Cheese

-        Custard or creamed rice

-        Homemade healthy muffins, banana bread, pikelets, scones

-        Popcorn

-        Healthy muesli bars

Some lunch ideas include:

  • Sandwiches (grainy or high fibre bread) with meat/chicken/fish/egg/cheese and salad filling
  • Mountain bread or wraps with meat/chicken/fish/cheese and salad
  • Grain or wholemeal crispbread or crackers with cheese/tuna and tomato
  • Salad with lean meat/chicken/tuna/cheese/egg – can add cooked pasta/rice etc
  • Chunky tinned or homemade soup with bread
  • Homemade hamburgers (use small rolls)
  • Homemade pizza on small pita breads
  • Jacket potato with small tin baked beans and a sprinkle of cheese
  • Noodles mixed with tuna/chopped chicken/cheese and some vegetables
  • Leftover pasta or fried rice
  • Small can baked beans, creamed corn or spaghetti on toast

Written by Peita Hynes, Accredited Practising Dietitan located at Family Doctors Plus at Windsor.

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