We recently explained the importance of diet as it relates to brain activity and learning. Here, we’ll take a look at some healthy snack and lunch options that’ll get your student through the school day, ready to learn and absorb what you’re teaching. Don’t worry…these options are readily available and easy to prepare and serve.
Fruit: It goes without saying that fruit is an essential part of any child’s diet. It’s full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants…and flavor! Some fresh fruit is the perfect way to satisfy your student’s sweets craving, and it can be served for breakfast, lunch, or as an anytime snack.
Yogurt: Another ideal substitute for sweets, yogurt is also packed with healthy benefits. It’s rich in protein, calcium, and probiotics, which can help with digestion. And it’s already conveniently packaged in an easily portable container that your child can take outside or eat at their desk. Just make sure you’re buying yogurt that’s not filled with cookie and candy pieces. That makes for a nice treat or occasional snack, but stick to plain or fruit-based yogurts for a healthy option.
Peanuts and Peanut Butter: Once considered too fatty to be a healthy snack, recent research has shown peanuts and peanut butter to actually be quite the opposite. Each is loaded with heart-healthy essential vitamins and minerals as well as protein. And it’s free of cholesterol and trans fat, making it a healthy–and delicious–snack or lunch. Tip: stick with natural peanut butter rather than the varieties loaded with sugar; and opt for peanuts with low or no salt. One more tip: if your child is allergic to peanuts, there are plenty of alternatives out there, like cashew butter, almond butter, sunflower butter, pumpkin butter, and others.
Tuna Fish: Put some tuna fish on a couple of slices of whole wheat or whole grain bread, and you’re giving your child a super-healthy lunch. Packed with protein, tuna fish also provides heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, helps increase energy levels, and stimulates growth and development. Sounds like the perfect food for your homeschooler!
Granola Bars/Trail Mix: Not only do granola bars and trail mix offer plenty of healthy ingredients (grains, nuts, raisins, peanut butter), but they deliver the flavors that kids want in a snack. Just be sure to read the nutritional labels closely–some brands pack as much sugar and artificial ingredients as a candy bar into a granola bar.
Popcorn: No, no…not the movie theater popcorn that’s soaked in butter and salt and fat and calories (though a movie just isn’t the same without a bucket of it!). Think plain popcorn lightly seasoned with salt or cheese and made with olive oil instead of butter. Now you’ve got a low-calorie, high-fiber, vitamin-packed snack that’s equally delicious and healthy for a student.
Organic/Veggie-Based Snacks: Let’s get one thing out of the way–potato chips are delicious. They’re just not very good for you. Fortunately, there are other choices out there that are much healthier–and actually taste like chips or other less-healthy snacks. Check out veggie straws or veggie chips; they’re made with real vegetable ingredients, but they taste like chips! There are tons of choices and flavors out there–check out the organic aisle of your grocery store or head to an organic supermarket. You’ll be surprised by just how many tasty alternatives there are.
Vegetables: We’ve saved the healthiest for last. That’s right, veggies are probably the best snack a budding student can eat. The nutritional benefits are obvious, but there are so many ways to enjoy veggies, so even the fussiest eaters can partake in the nutritional bounty. Celery sticks and peanut butter, baby carrots and ranch or hummus, pita chips and salsa or guacamole, or a salad. You can’t go wrong, and your homeschooler will reap the benefits.
Homeschooling is challenging enough, so don’t let lunch and snack-time add even more stress to the day. There are tons of healthy and delicious–and easy-to-prep-options out there. What are your go-to snacks and lunches during the homeschool day?