It’s fast approaching that time of year again: back-to-school. If you’re stressing about the upcoming early wake ups, daily lunchbox packing and constant juggle, then keep reading, because our friend, James Jensen, from Australian Nutrition Centre has shared with us his top three back-back-to-school nutrition tips to help set your child up for the school year ahead.
- Avoid processed foods
When it comes to packing lunchboxes, children don’t need a special diet, but it is important they avoid processed foods that have unhealthy levels of added sugar, inflammatory fats or allergens which can affect a child’s activity and concentration levels. Certain additives in processed foods produce a rapid increase in blood glucose levels or what is otherwise known as a ‘sugar spike’ because they enter the bloodstream so quickly and cause an increase in hyperactive behaviour in children. This often means that children find it harder to focus, learn and absorb information the way they should.
- Try to serve ‘the rainbow’
Each different coloured food or vegetable provides a unique set of nutrients, so by aiming to serve ‘the rainbow’ in children’s lunchboxes, parents are likely to capture the whole gamut of essential nutrients needed for optimal brain development. Being constantly surrounded by sugary treats means it can be difficult to make healthy foods seam enticing but eating or using probiotics or fermented foods and drinks like Kombucha, that, if flavoured correctly, can be a healthy and tasty alternative.
- Try getting children involved in the lunch-packing process
Children are more successful at developing healthy habits when they are a part of the whole family’s routine. Encouraging the kids to pick a few colourful items to include in their lunchboxes will motivate children to eat their fruits and vegetables and help them learn about different produce and build healthy habits that will stick well into adulthood. Children involved with food shopping, and food preparation, with explanation from parents as to why certain foods are good or bad also helps children jump on board.
Stuck for healthy lunchbox ideas? Try Emma and James’ delicious coconut rough!
- 210g of raw beetroot
- 12 pitted medjool dates
- 130g of desiccated coconut
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 scoops of chocolate or raspberry gutright (optional)
- Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until well combined
- Place extra desiccated coconut onto a plate and set aside
- Roll mixture into small balls then coat with the desiccated coconut
- Store in freezer
James Jensen is a Functional Medicine Practitioner and owner of Australian Nutrition Centre who holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy. As the owner of Australian Nutrition Centre, James is passionate about treating the root cause of symptoms through natural therapy for a range of health issues including Diabetes, Hormone Health, Anxiety, Fertility, Weight Loss and Children’s Behaviour Management.