Healthy Brains for a New School Year: Diet Plays a Big Role
Kids are (finally) going back to school. Don’t get me wrong—I love spending time with my daughter, especially during the summer when the weather is beautiful and there’s plenty to do and see. But back-to-school season is an exciting time!
One thing I’m reminded of every back-to-school season is the importance of nutrition. During the summer, there’s more opportunities to eat better. The fast-paced schedule of the school season makes it much harder to plan meals and snacks, and like most people, I’m often grabbing whatever’s easiest. But with my background in sports nutrition, I know I need to do better. So this year, I am!
Studies show a healthy diet has a major impact on brain function—especially for kids. A good diet helps them focus, process information, retain knowledge and even stimulates creativity! That’s why breakfast is big. It’s the first meal of the day: The one that’ll jumpstart the entire learning process.
This year, I’m sending my daughter to school with a full stomach and all the energy she needs to stay focused. I’m talking avocado toast and fruit over oatmeal. Eggs over easy, scrambled and fried. And, of course, her favorite: Coconut pancakes. The goal is to make sure she’s getting a breakfast rich in healthy fats and rich in protein, so she’s got energy all the way through lunch.
Speaking of lunch, I’m stepping up my game big time this year.
I’ve always tried to pack my daughter a lunch that she’ll enjoy, as well as one that’s nutritious. Now that she’s getting older, it’s time to start putting together lunches that’ll help her stay focused all afternoon and after school.
On days when I know I’m short on time, my go-to will be handhelds. Pastrami avocado wraps. A Cobb salad. And depending on leftovers, she’ll be munching on the likes of high protein, low-sugar, high-fiber meals. The goal is to keep her energized all afternoon, without sugar that eventually leads to a crash.
Keeping her mentally stimulated
I’m lucky because my daughter loves school. She gets excited about learning! She’s doing her part, so I need to do mine and give her meals that keep her awake, attentive and excited about school. These are the most important years of her developmental life—the best thing for them is a good diet.