The season of homework and PTO meetings is here, meaning it’s time to gear up for a successful school year. A balanced eating plan helps children, and adults, to concentrate, learn and problem-solve, in and out of the classroom. When creating your back-to-school shopping lists, remember to include foods that will nourish your child’s growing brain.
Plan your family’s meals ahead of time and pay close attention to the amount of protein you serve your children at breakfast. Kids should eat about 20 grams of protein before heading off to school to help avoid hunger pangs during morning classes. Breakfast is also a golden opportunity to feed your child brain-boosting nutrients such as omega-3 fats and B vitamins, as well as vitamin D to help boost immunity.
“One piece of advice I have for parents is to take a couple minutes to read nutrition labels while at the grocery store,” says Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Ward. “Some foods are nutritionally superior to others. For example, I only feed my family Eggland’s Best eggs because they taste great and provide more key nutrients than ordinary eggs.”
When compared to ordinary eggs, one large Eggland’s Best egg provides twice the amount of omega-3s to support brain cells and promote healthy vision, three times more vitamin B12 to aide in proper brain function and four times more vitamin D to help with calcium absorption and boost immunity. These eggs also have 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs and contain 10 percent of the daily recommended amount of protein.
Berries make an ideal side dish at breakfast because they contain compounds that help shield brain cells from every day wear and tear. Whether they are fresh, dried or frozen, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and strawberries are bursting with powerful antioxidants that can protect the brain and may enhance memory.
When your student is eating nutrient-rich foods, be sure they are properly hydrating as well. Mild dehydration affects concentration and may cause headaches. Younger children need about 57 ounces of fluid daily, while pre-teens and teens need between 71 and 81 ounces. Although water is the preferred fluid source, low-fat milk and 100 percent juice count toward daily liquid needs, too.
Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the impending school year get the better of your family’s health. Planning meals ahead of time can help nourish your little Einstein’s mind and keep your family happy and healthy.
Find recipe ideas for the school year, including this Eggland’s Best Brainy Burrito, at www.egglandsbest.com or www.pinterest.com/egglandsbest.
Eggland’s Best Brainy Burrito
Makes one burrito
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
1 large Eggland’s Best egg
1 low-fat whole wheat tortilla
1 tablespoon low-fat refried beans
1/4 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons salsa
1/2 avocado, sliced
* Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray.
* Beat egg; pour into skillet and cook, stirring continually, until slightly set, about two minutes.
* Add cheese.
* Spread refried beans on tortilla.
* Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds.
* Spread egg and cheese filling down the center of the tortilla. Add salsa and sliced avocado.
* Fold one side of the tortilla over filling. Fold up bottom. Roll securely.