You are what you eat, right? If you’ve heard of “brain food” before, you’re probably familiar with the idea that certain “smart” foods contain nutrients that help your brain function at its peak.
So why not eat smart and start adding some serious brain food when packing school lunch for yourself or your child? Here are some of our favorite smart foods, along with ideas for incorporating them into a delicious school lunch!
The green stuff’s not just for Popeye! Spinach is packed with iron and antioxidants, plus it’s a great source of fiber. The antioxidants in spinach protect your brain from free radicals, the agents that can cause cell damage and potentially even cancer. Additionally, antioxidants relieve and prevent inflammation, so you can feel (and think) your best!
The best way to reap the benefits of spinach in your lunch is a nice spinach salad. Throw in some other brain boosting foods like walnuts, avocado, and tomato and toss it with a healthful olive oil-based vinaigrette. For pickier eaters, start introducing spinach in place of lettuce on a sandwich.
Salmon and other oily fishes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which boost brain function and may offer protection against developing dementia. Salmon is also a great source of vitamin D, a nutrient we normally get from sun exposure. Studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and memory loss. If school has you or your child indoors most of the day, it’s definitely a good idea to pack in a little extra vitamin D.
You can serve salmon for lunch as part of a nutritious and tasty wrap. Add spinach for bonus brain points. Or, you can use salmon in place of tuna and make a delicious salmon salad sandwich. Salmon is also great served on a salad or with some whole grain pasta.
Some leading nutrition experts have dubbed them “brainberries” and it’s easy to see why. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that have been shown to increase memory. Drinking blueberry juice has been shown to have the most impact on memory, but you can also benefit from the fiber when you munch on whole berries.
Blueberries are great on yogurt, cereal, and salads. You can also snack on blueberries by themselves or add dried blueberries to a trail mix instead of raisins.
Walnuts are another great source of omega-3. Additionally, walnuts contain protein and antioxidants to keep your brain healthy and functioning.
Add walnuts to your salad, pop them in your trail mix, or serve them with honey in your yogurt. Walnuts are also great in pesto or roasted on pasta.
Do you have a test coming up? Dark chocolate contains flavanoids that can lower blood pressure and aid relaxation. Additionally, dark chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine, which can improve concentration. Nibble on some chocolate before your test for a sweet treat that might help your performance. Plus, it just tastes good!
If you’re looking for a little extra help in school, TakeLessons offers one-on-one tutoring online or in your home! Our private tutors make personalized lesson plans to help you or your child reach your academic goals. Learn more about what tutoring can do for you and find your tutor today!
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Photo by Julian Lee