Healthy Kids Lunch Ideas to Keep Kids Alert in Class
Coming up with healthy kids’ lunch ideas for school day after day isn’t easy, but experts agree that good nutrition is vital for attention and learning.
Teachers know how difficult it can be to keep students focused after lunch. Some schools in Australia have tackled the ‘afternoon slump’ by scheduling lunch earlier or allowing students to snack throughout the day.
These measures help, but it’s important for parents to be aware of these healthy kids’ lunch ideas to keep students alert in class all day.
Easy Lunch Ideas for Kids
School lunches should be filling but not too heavy as this will make kids sleepy. Carbohydrates such as pasta and rice should only be eaten in small quantities at lunchtime as they cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate.
Nutritious and easy lunch ideas for kids include grain rolls or bread with a protein filling such as lean turkey breast, chicken, tuna or cottage cheese. Chickpeas and fava beans provide energy without blood sugar spikes. Fresh fruits and crunchy vegetables, boiled eggs and nuts are also nutritious and easy to snack on.
Yoghurt is a healthy school snack for kids’ lunchboxes and there is evidence that whole milk is better than low-fat options as it helps children stay fuller for longer. The fewer added ingredients in yoghurt the better.
Getting enough water during the school day is very important as dehydration often mimics hunger, causing kids to overeat. When students are hydrated, they are more alert and focused in class. It’s important to provide a water bottle in kids’ lunchboxes and make sure they can refill it easily at school.
Why Kids Should Eat More Frequently
Nutritionists believe that everyone should eat five small meals a day rather than three large ones to assist with digestion and concentration. ‘Grazing’ distributes energy and prevents blood sugar spikes.
This is difficult when coming up with healthy kids’ lunch ideas for school as students have limited time for morning and afternoon breaks, but you can encourage your child to spread their eating out by having half a sandwich or roll for morning tea and the other half for lunch.
Providing other healthy school snacks such as carrot and celery sticks, berries, bananas and nuts allows them to eat until they are full, without feeling heavy. Jazz these up with a tub of hummus for the vegetables or yoghurt with the fruit and nuts.
Kids who have a variety of nutritious foods to snack on throughout the day are less likely to come home starving, reducing after-school binging. They’re also more likely to develop healthy lifestyle habits.
Tips for Healthy School Snacks
- Cut fruit up to make it easier to eat on the go.
- Entice your kids with colour and variety in their lunchboxes.
- Avoid packaged and processed foods such as chips, bars, juices, soft drinks and sports drinks as these are all high in energy, sugar and salt. They will give a burst of energy followed by a slump.
- A refrigerated lunchbox is essential in summer to keep food fresh and appealing.
- Encourage kids to pack their own lunch and take an interest in nutrition from a young age.
Take it to the Next Level
These healthy kids’ lunch ideas can provide a solid foundation for learning and set your student up for a positive future. To further help your child achieve their full potential, consider hiring a tutor.
Tutoring benefits students of all ages and abilities through the one-on-one attention they receive. Research by the Brookings Institute found that tutoring is ‘remarkably effective’ in helping students learn.
In addition to attaining subject knowledge and skills, students also improve their attention span and develop confidence with a tutor.