Nutrition for Back to School Brain Power


Not just for the back-to-schoolers though, right? If you’ve ever experienced that afternoon slump and need a caffeine boost, then you know we could all use a bit more focus, attention and brain power during the day!

We always hear “eat the rainbow”, which is super important to get a variety of our vitamins and minerals. But when it comes to brain health and focus, we want to pay attention to our maco-nutrients more than anything, making sure each meal has a balance of protein, healthy fats and fibre. But how do you do how much?

Because everybody is different, we can determine how much our body needs by knowing WHAT each of those nutrients do:

PROTEIN: helps with more stable mood and energy throughout the day. Sometimes, we might find that our children will experience a sudden boost of energy, followed by a slump, with low mood(aka. cranky!), trouble focusing, or it takes multiple repetitions of the same instruction before they listen. This can be an indicator that your child requires more protein sources throughout the day.

HELTHY FATS: help to keep us full for longer, and more focused mentally throughout the day. If you’re finding that your child is constantly hungry or having difficulty focusing or paying attention during the day, then incorporating some more fat sources might be a good idea!

FIBRE: fibre helps to keep things moving through the system, but the right fibres can also help with energy and focus. Fibre from vegetables or berries(versus fruits and breads) break down more slowly into sugar, helping us to not experience that sudden hit of sugar, followed by a yucky crash. This up and down in blood sugar can often be the reason some children find it difficult to focus in school.

WHAT I RECOMMEND:

  1. START THEM OFF RIGHT: if you can make sure all 3 of those components are in your child’s breakfast, then their blood sugar is starting off on a good note! If your child is a smoothie drinker, here’s a good one:

TROPICAL GREENS:

  • 1 CUP ALMOND MILK + ½ CUP WATER(IF YOUR CHILD PREFERS THE SMOOTHIE MORE THICK, DON’T ADD THE EXTRA WATER)

  • ¼ OF AN AVOCADO

  • 3 TBSP HEMP HEARTS (PROTEIN SOURCE)

  • 1 OVERFLOWING HANDFUL OF SPINACH

  • 2-3 CUBES OF MANGO + 2-3 CUBES OF PINEAPPLE

  • 1 TSP HONEY *OPTIONAL FOR EXTRA SWEETNESS

2. FOCUS MORE ON THE NUTRIENTS: it’s definitely important that children “eat the rainbow” when it comes to their snacks and meals, but it’s also important to pay attention to which specific nutrients are going to help with better mood, focus and attention for their school day.

SCHOOL-DAY(NUT FREE) SNACKS

Cut veggies(celery sticks, carrots, cucumbers) + hummus

Handful of sesame seeds + almonds + favourite fruit

Crackers or corn tortillas + guacamole

AFTER-SCHOOL SNACKS

1 tbsp of almond butter on rice cracker or with sliced apple

Apple slices + 2-3 cubes of cheese

1 handful of raw pumpkin seeds + favourite berries(blue berries, raspberries, strawberries blackberries)

3. HEALTHY FATS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND: especially if you find that your child is often complaining about being hungry, fats are going to help keep them full for longer. Nuts and seeds, avocados, oils in salad dressings(olive oil, hemp oil, flax oil), coconut oil, can all help give us more stable, and long-lasting energy. Consider going to our local health food store and finding you and your child a good omega 3 fish oil. Omega 3 fats especially help with brain power for the school year! Look for one with an EPA value at least double the DHA value(this information will be in the nutritional facts section of the bottle).

Got any questions about back to school for your child? Comment below, or send me an email to book an individualized consultation with me(over Skype or in person). Happy school year everyone!

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