‘Hungry ’ kids are scary kids. The combination of anger caused by hunger may lead to cranky, tired and unfocussed teens and children.
Lunchboxes should come with a warning: The contents of this lunchbox may well determine how your afternoon will turn out. Will we get “Gorgeous or Grumpy” at the afternoon school pick up?
Good moods, academic focus, and energy levels can all be improved with a few minor changes to our children’s lunch box. So here’s how to create the best good mood lunchbox.
Why is that?
“Because our brain is a complex network that depends on important macro and micronutrients to work properly. Too much added sugar and lack of nutrients like amino acids and selenium can impact brain chemistry, mood swings, brain clarity, and energy levels. And actually, not just children but nutrition also underpins adults as well.” Says Michele Chevalley Hedge, founder of My Family Wellness online programs for busy parents.
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It is really important that parents don’t take an extreme approach and clear out the pantry and load up with ‘health’ foods.
If you do this, kids will fiercely rebel. Quietly, add so much good into your kitchen that the family doesn’t even realise what is happening. Mums and Dads don’t need to announce that there is going to be a change. That just spells DISASTER. Parents need a plan with tasty recipes, accessible ingredients and meals that can be made in minutes. Dinner is often the most thought about meal, so get smart and double that meal and get creative and turn that into a lunch box idea for the next day.
Lunchbox foods that support mood
Create a lunchbox that is low sugar with some protein, a little quality fat and some carbs and watch your child’s world change.
When kids are well nourished (even if they don’t know they are eating ‘healthy’ food) they sleep better and feel better about themselves.
Children have enough going on in their busy worlds; they don’t need the self esteem bombs that poor food choices create – like skin irritations, tummy bloat, mood swings, brain fog and more.
- The common ingredients that keep your heart happy
- Get your child on the right track: five tips for healthy snacking
The new guidelines from the World Health Organisation are suggesting that for optimum health we should consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar daily. Most Aussie kids are consuming more than 30 teaspoons of added sugar every day and it is this type of added sugar that is making children feel poorly about themselves. There is an alarming increase in childhood depression, anxiety and AHDH and that is a link as parents we cannot ignore.
Reducing added, hidden sugars, consuming quality protein, carbs, fats and wholefoods rich in nutrients may be the difference you have been looking for your child’s behaviour.
Get These into the morning tea or lunchbox
Protein at all meals for kids: Yoghurt, cheese, seeds, nuts, nut spreads, meat, eggs, fish.
Keeps blood sugar balanced without the highs and lows of sugar swings. Protein contains tryptophan, which is the precursor to our feel good hormones, serotonin and dopamine.
Quality fat a little at most meals. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, nuts and seeds, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil.
Our brains are made up of 60% fat. Brain health needs fat for healthy cell communication for neurotransmitters.
Low Sugar Carbs
Low sugar carbohydrates – wholegrain crackers, rice, quinoa, fruit, leafy greens and oats.
Nutrient dense in vitamin B’s which is critical for brain function. Vitamin B is essential for energy and to convert amino acids into our happy hormone ‘serotonin.’
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds, brown rice, brazil nuts and walnuts.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in hormones synthesis, especially the thyroid.
Homemade muffins with real fruit.
Homemade items – we can control the ingredients. Packaged muffins are often full of sugar and trans fat.
Replace lollies and chocolcate with Energy or bliss balls.
Made with dates, seeds, oils and natural sweeteners versus sugar-laden jelly snakes, ‘health bars’, ‘fruit bites’.
No Fizzy Drinks Or Flavoured Milks
Replace fizzy drinks and flavoured milks with Flavoured waters or ice teas.
Low sugar versus flavoured milks containing 10-12 teaspoons of mood altering sugar.
Go With Yoghurt
Plain Greek yoghurt topped with real fruit.
Flavoured yoghurts are often full of hidden sugars. Plain yogurt is protein rich and has only natural sugar.
Rice cracker with nut-free spreads or real cheese.
Low sugar carb, protein with some fat. Nutrient dense, taste good and the kids don’t need to know it’s healthy!
Do you struggle to create a good mood lunchbox for your kids? Please SHARE with us in the comments below.