Its that time again, back to school lunches and the morning rush out the door. I wanted to help you tackle school lunches and breakfast with ease and support energy and focus not only for your family but for everyone. These simple meals are focused around whole, nutritious ingredients that will power the body and brain.
The most important thing to be mindful of when filling your kids up with breakfast or packing their lunch is the sugar. Natural sugar is fine and helps provide energy but many typical breakfast and lunch foods aimed for children are LOADED with processed carbohydrates and high sugar sweeteners. These foods give us a huge surge of energy then a quick crash. We want to eat foods that contain protein, fats and fibre that are a slower release into the blood sugar and sustain our energy, appetite and focus throughout the day.
Here are a few tips and recipes that will help support you and your family with calm, focused energy through their diet:
Build your own breakfast! We want to aim to incorporate protein, fibre, fats, a slow digesting carb and for bonus points greens!
We often see typical breakfast full of processed foods and high in sugar. I want to give you whole food, but also easy and quick options to switch over from cereals, bagels, jams, fruit smoothies and pastries.
You can do this in a bunch of different ways and we’re going to lay them out for you here!
Quick and on-the-go options:
- Smoothies – the easiest and quickest way to stuff as much nutrients into a breakfast. I recommend purchasing a magic bullet or ninja blender with individual to-go cups – this makes it easy to blend and go without the clean up! See our tasty, nutritionist developed recipes here!
- Chia seed pudding – if you haven’t tried or heard of chia seeds before, they are small seeds that actually gel up when you add them to water or a liquid. This not only makes a perfect “pudding” consistency but also is a great form of omega-3 fats, fibre and hydrates the colon to keep you regular 🙂 So you’ve got the fat and fibre nailed in this one but its also got your protein, it really is a superfood. Checkout how to make a Superfood Chia Seed Pudding and the various toppings to mix it up daily!
- Overnight oats – this simple recipe saves the day on a early morning rush. The slow digesting carb provides sustainable energy and can be topped with superfoods like hemp hearts and flax seeds for fibre, fas and protein. We’ve got your recipe here and some of our top toppings!
- Baked Muffin Tin Eggs – Literally a whole food, balanced grab and go warm breakfast. Protein, healthy fat, and fibre. Switch up your morning meal with this awesome recipe!
More time? Switch up your routine with these options:
- Eggs – one of the most balanced typical breakfast foods. Eggs are a brain food with their healthy fats and protein, they actually help raise the good cholesterol in your body which improves all over cholesterol levels. Scrambled, over easy, poached or in an omelette with some greens snuck in, you can’t go wrong starting your day with eggs!
- Classic Oatmeal – as mentioned above oatmeal is a great choice for your mornings. I choose the classic oatmeal made fresh and warm on cool mornings. We’ve got a few ways to amp up this classic recipe here!
Lets Talk Lunch?
I find this the most difficult meal for my clients because we typically see lots of processed carbs like bread, buns, bagels etc. Here are a few tips for a whole foods lunch:
- Switch to sprouted breads – Instead of normal white or whole wheat, look for sprouted. When grains begin to sprout, their carbohydrate stores aid the sprouting process. This is why sprouted grains have lower glycemic index levels, increased soluble fibre and protein. That means steady blood sugar and energy to power your full day’s work or play. High starch foods leave you foggy and lethargic. But whole sprouted grains’ complex carbs fuel your most important organ—your brain. Plus, essential nutrients, like B vitamins and vitamin C, are made more available giving you a boost of focus and mental alertness. You can find sprouted breads in most grocery stores look for my favourite, Silver Hills Bakery.
- Make ahead jars are great. My personal go to is leftover quinoa with chickpeas. I can eat them on their own cold or heated up, or tossed into some spinach for a quick and FILLING salad. Easy recipe here!
- Don’t forget about lentils – base your lunch on your favourite bean or legume. Use canned black beans as a base for a southwest salad by adding tomatoes, corn, cilantro and avocado. Take a simple hummus with chopped vegetables or mary’s crackers.
- Leftovers – my favourite word. We often spend the most time cooking a well balanced meal for dinner and less time for breakfast and lunch. Why not consciously make a larger portion of dinner, purchase easy to pack tupperware or glasswear containers and portion the extras from dinner for lunch the next day.
- Eggs – Hardboiled make an easy whole food meal or snack.
- Bring a breakfast, any of the above make ahead breakfast make a great lunch!
- My go to when the “I have nothing to eat” statement is made – Whether you’re coming home from a weekend away or you just couldn’t get a grocery shop in, we all find ourselves stuck when there is nothing in the house for lunches. When this happens my go to is having Amy’s Organic Black Bean Burritos either stockpiled in my freezer or on the way to work I stop in at the store to grab one. I will grab and avocado or throw some salsa on it. Still easy but beats fast food meals any day.
Sugary juices – Juices are loaded with fruit sugars and often added sugar. This will put your child into a insulin spike and crash cycle that can cause them to lose focus and interupt their ideal learning brain. Instead opt for nut milk, a simple protein shake (chocolate protein powder (naturally sweetened with stevia or monk fruit) mixed with water), cool infused waters, add fruit to water in a fun container!
High sugar granola bars – Not only the chocolate covered ones but even the “healthy” looking snack bars can contain loads of sugar. I tell my clients to watch labels and remeber that 4g of sugar is about 1 teaspoon, and visualize that before purchasing the snack bars. Look for the lowest sugar, with the highest protein and fibre content. Homemade is always best – for our Fat balls click here!
Have a happy and healthy back to school month! 🙂