(StatePoint) What your children eat during the school day not only affects their health and wellness, but proper nutrition can benefit them academically as well. Take care to pack lunches and snacks that will serve your children well on both counts!
With that goal in mind, think superfoods. Superfoods are specific foods loaded with unusually high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Supermarkets are full of inexpensive, easy-to-pack superfoods that make great additions to your child's more traditional lunchbox favorites.
This school year, consider introducing these three to your child's repertoire:
Seaweed offers the broadest range of minerals of any food on the planet. It contains 10 to 20 times the mineral concentration of land plants, as well as protein, fiber iodine, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, iron, and calcium, and measurable amounts of vitamins C and E. And a serving has only 25 to 100 calories.
"Seaweed is nature’s perfect snack. It`s easy and fun to eat, gluten free, vegetarian and naturally low in calories and sodium,” says Annie Chun, seaweed fanatic and co-founder of GimMe Health.
How do you get kids to try this nutritional powerhouse? GimMe Organic Roasted Seaweed snacks, available in sea salt and sesame flavors, come in single servings and are easy to pack in a lunch bag. Certified USDA organic and verified non-GMO, they make a great substitute for high-fat snacks like potato chips.
If you’re packing pasta or rice, consider mixing in some Gimme Roasted Seaweed Crumbles for an added boost of nutrition.
For more seaweed lunch and snack ideas, visit www.GimMeHealth.com.
A small handful of almonds or walnuts pack a wallop of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s. Eating just a serving a day may help lower cholesterol, prevent diabetes, fight cancer, and even boost brain power. Recent studies also suggest that eating nuts helps promote a healthy weight.
While peanut butter is certainly delicious and a great source of vitamins, almond butter has different dietary benefits and its own great taste. So if you normally pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, send an almond butter and jelly sandwich instead. Almonds can also be a great alternative for kids with peanut allergies.
It makes no difference whether they're black, blue or red, berries are a powerhouse of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are proven cancer fighters. They’re also an excellent source of vitamins A, C and E, as well as calcium and folic acid.
Mix berries into yogurt or oatmeal to create a nutrition-packed meal. Or add a serving size of dried fruit with no sugar added to your child's lunch bag. Mix with almonds or walnuts to make a healthy trail mix.
Between reading, writing and arithmetic, you can impart some great wisdom to your children at lunch time -- great taste and great nutrition can go hand in hand!
Photo Credit: (c) Mia Broad