Planning and preparing the daily lunchbox for kids is an exhausting grind. You want to keep the contents interesting, satisfying and also fulfilling to keep the kids operating at their best. For children, who are busily learning, the lunchbox needs to be filled with all they need to get through the day and stave off the afternoon slump.
To improve performance and increase attention, dieticians recommend five meals per day, not just the big three, so mid-morning and afternoon eating is important.
So why do dieticians recommend five meals per day? The top three reasons are:
- Distribute energy better through the day.
- Keeps glycaemic index levels steady.
- Stops overeating at other times of the day1.
It’s basically a way of improving attention and activity.
If you decide to pack the lunchbox ready for these extra meal times, it’s important to select the right snacks for improved performance during the afternoon. To keep energy and attention levels high, it may be wise to consider as snack high in protein and fibre.
Foods with high protein keep us feeling fuller for longer, meaning that the need for future snacks are reduced. Additionally, being full means we can focus on the task at hand, rather than a rumbling in the stomach, increasing attention and productivity, particularly important for children in the classroom1.
Thankfully, for variety and our physical and mental health, there are number of sources of protein and these include seafood, poultry, lean meat, eggs, soy, nuts, seeds, peas and beans.
Protein combined with low GI carbohydrate foods create a steady rise in the level of glucose in the blood, avoiding the spikes that can leave you feeling lethargic, hungry and in need of something else to eat – the effect otherwise known as the slump.
What foods contains protein and low GI carbohydrates?
Among a variety of sources are chick peas and fava beans (also known as broad beans) contain high fibre, high protein and small amounts of fat for a healthy afternoon snack.
These beans and peas are part of the legume family and are nature’s wonder food. Nutrient dense, containing low GI carbohydrates, each contains beneficial vitamins and minerals for the high performance of the body and brain.
Fava beans contain vitamin B6 and Vitamin B1 they also contain iron, copper, calcium, magnesium and manganese2.
Chick peas are high in soluble fibre and help digestion. They contain iron, phosphorus, thiamine, B6, magnesium and zinc – a solid power-pack of nutrients2.
Chic peas and fava beans can be added to lunches in salads or as burger patties or roasted for snacking. The extra boost of protein will help kids remain engaged throughout the afternoon and avoid that slump that everyone dreads.
While planning the lunchbox seems like an endless – and thankless task – with the right foods, your children will be more productive and focused and you know that long term, their bodies will benefit too.