Are your students receiving all the nutrients they need for success? A well-balanced diet is important at any age, but it is especially important for children with growing bodies. In order to optimize learning, increase brain function, and develop healthy food habits, we recommend these five healthy snacks.
Note: Before providing snacks to children, ask children and parents about any food allergies or religious or other food preferences.
NUTS AND SEEDS
Walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds all contain essential fatty acids that support nerve activity in the brain, facilitating memory and learning retention. Roast them, mix them with dark chocolate, or add seasonings to make them more kid-friendly. Just be careful not to add too much salt!
An oldie but a goody, fruit is a great snack for children. The Journal of School Health published a study proving that children who consume the recommended daily dose of fruits and vegetables perform better on academic tests.
Yogurt is full of calcium, which aids in strong bone growth. It is also a great source of protein and helps keep blood sugar stable. The important thing to remember about yogurt, however, is to check the label for sugar content. Yogurts with added sugars or other sweeteners should be avoided, as they may cause blood sugar levels to spike. An overdose of sugar can lead to energy highs and lows as well as obesity and long-term health problems. The best yogurts for kids are plain or vanilla Greek yogurt.
Eggs are a great source of protein and also supply vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Recent studies show that most Americans are Vitamin D deficient, and only a handful of foods include it. Children especially should make sure to get enough Vitamin D in order for their bodies to process calcium, the key ingredient for growing strong bones.
As with apple slices, carrots help kids eat the recommended dose of fruits and veggies, proven to improve academic performance. Carrots are a powerhouse veggie with a massive amount of Vitamin A, crucial for maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, and healthy skin. All the better to see the lesson from the back of the room! Carrots also provide C, D, E, and K, as well as magnesium, potassium, and calcium. An all-around fantastic veggie!