We have teamed up with Shikha of @my.little.food.critic to bring you the ultimate nutritious snacks for your little ones.
"With the kids heading back to school, it’s time to start thinking about packed lunches, after-school snacks and nourishing breakfasts to keep them fuelled and focussed. What your child eats has a major impact on their learning – they need good nutrition to function properly, especially as their brains are always developing through their early years.
A healthy and balanced diet is not just good for the body, it's also essential for brain development. The right foods can improve brain function, memory and concentration. We all know it’s important to have a nourishing breakfast, but it doesn’t stop there! I’ve got you covered with a range of ideas to fuel your little ones for learning, from brain-boosting snacks to lunchbox ideas and after-school snacks"
Apples are a delicious lunchbox filler, part of breakfast or an after-school snack. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which may help to support cognitive skills.
I like to add a squeeze of lemon juice over apple slices to stop them from browning.
You can serve them with yoghurt or a fun dip for an easy after-school snack.
Avocados are rich in lutein and vitamin E; both nutrients are linked to better eye health and lutein also helps to improve memory and concentration.
Serve up some guacamole and veggies for an afternoon snack, add them to a quesadilla for lunchboxes or whip up an avocado pesto sauce and toss with some pasta for a hearty lunch.
Oats are an excellent brain food. They are highly nutritious and a great source of energy. They are also packed with fibre to keep tummies full for longer. Oats regulate the release of glucose into the blood which helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels that can lead to a lack of concentration and energy.
Oats also contain vitamin E, B-complex and zinc which helps cognitive brain function.
Oats are so versatile and easy to customise to your families’ preferences. You can make a simple oatmeal and top with any fruit, nuts or seeds.
Granola is another fantastic option for using oats and incorporating nutrient-dense, brain-boosting nuts and seeds. Make up a big batch of granola at the weekend and serve it up for breakfast or an after-school snack with Greek yoghurt or fruit.
Eggs are a brilliant source of protein and the yolks also contain choline which is an important nutrient for memory development.
Try scrambling eggs with some veggies for a quick breakfast or serve boiled eggs with fruit and vegetables for lunch.
Frittata muffins are also a great make-ahead lunch or after-school snack and you can easily customise them to your little one’s preference.
Berries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C and they can help to improve memory.
Whizz up a smoothie for breakfast or after-school with your little one’s favourite berries, serve them as they are or make berry muffins for a delicious afternoon snack.
Chia jam is another fabulous option for using up berries. Simply combine some mashed fruit with chia seeds and a squeeze of lemon for a healthy, homemade jam.
A family favourite of ours is cream cheese and strawberry sandwiches! They make a nice change from the usual savoury sandwich ideas.
Yoghurt & Kefir
Full-fat Greek yogurt is calcium-rich and packs in a lot of protein. Kefir contains millions of ‘good for your gut’ bacteria and a healthy and diverse gut is essential for a healthy brain. Yoghurt and kefir also contain B vitamins which are needed for growth of brain tissue.
Use yogurt or kefir for smoothies, to make oatmeal or to make popsicles for an after-school snack. You can also serve yoghurt or kefir in a pouch – there are some fantastic brands that contain no added sugar and are perfect for lunchboxes or snacking on the go.
Sunflower seed butter
Sunflower seed butter is a great alternative to nut butters and safe for school! Sunflower seeds are loaded with fibre, protein and healthy fat. Healthy fat is so important to keep kids satiated for longer and keep them energised while learning.
Tortilla wrap sushi bites are a fun way to serve seed butter. Simply spread sunflower butter over a tortilla wrap, place a banana in the middle and sprinkle with cinnamon before rolling it up tightly and cutting it into “sushi” bites.
Jam and sunflower seed butter sandwiches are also a delicious option!
Broccoli is high in vitamin K and choline, which improves memory and the folate in broccoli can improve cognition.
Try making a batch of broccoli tots to pop into lunchboxes, broccoli and cheese quesadillas or even mini broccoli and cheese muffins to pack into lunch boxes.
Overall, I know we all strive to serve our families real, wholesome foods and I hope these ‘brain foods’ will help provide superfood nutrition to fuel your family.
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