Back to school lunchbox essentials: seven brain boosting snacks

Veggies and Hummus (Photo: Submitted)
Veggies and Hummus (Photo: Submitted)

Not to worry - there's still time to make a Tesco run! To fuel their growing minds, sports science graduate and health blogger Thomas Riley shares his top snack picks for powering through the school day.

Keep reading for a roundup of 7 wholesome, nutritious snacks that boost focus, memory, and performance in the classroom. With these tasty lunchbox additions, your kids will be sure to get those A's in no time. Now go grab some yoghurt and trail mix - the lunchbox meal prep begins!

Yoghurt Parfaits

The protein and calcium in yoghurt help build strong muscles and bones in growing kids. The carbs provide fuel for brain function and learning. Yoghurt also contains probiotics to support gut health and immunity. The nuts and berries add antioxidants, vitamin E, and omega-3s for memory, focus, and cognition. This snack provides long-lasting energy and nutrients to keep kids sharp all morning.

To make, layer plain nonfat Greek yoghurt with fresh berries and a sprinkling of crushed almonds or granola in a portable container. The parfait keeps well in an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack.

Trail Mix

The hearty mixture of proteins, fats, and fibre in trail mix helps regulate blood sugar and gives the brain steady energy for concentration. The nuts contain vitamin E, omega-3s, and amino acids to boost learning, recall, and critical thinking skills. The variety of textures keeps kids engaged while snacking.

Simply mix together your choice of unsalted nuts and seeds with dried fruit pieces. Portion into small containers or reusable snack bags. Avoid chocolate chips or other high-sugar add-ins.

Apple Energy Bites

The combination of oats, peanut butter, and applesauce in these bites delivers lasting energy from complex carbs, fibre, and protein. Apples provide antioxidants, iron, and vitamin C to boost immunity and keep kids healthy and active. The Peanut butter contains vitamin E, healthy fats, and protein for sustained mental stamina.

In a bowl, mix 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and 1/4 cup raisins or craisins. Form into 1-inch balls and store in the refrigerator.

Chicken Salad Cups

Chicken provides lean protein to feed growing muscle and fuel cognitive function. The omega-3s from walnuts support memory, processing speed, and comprehension. This snack gives kids the nutrients they need for optimal brain health, attention span, and academic performance. The colorful mix of ingredients makes it an appealing lunchtime choice.

Make chicken salad with diced chicken, a little mayonnaise, celery, grapes, and walnuts. Spoon into cucumber slices or serve between whole grain crackers.

Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas supply plant-based protein, fiber, and iron to nourish active bodies and minds. Iron carries oxygen to the brain for clear thinking and reasoning skills. The satisfying crunch helps boredom cravings. This snack provides a nutritious alternative to greasy chips in the lunchbox.

Drain and rinse a 15-oz can of chickpeas. Toss with olive oil, sea salt, and spices of choice. Roast at 400°F for 20 minutes until crispy.

Fruit and Cheese

The vitamin C and antioxidants in the fruit support immunity and brain cell health. Protein from the cheese enhances concentration, learning, and memory. Offering a colorful variety of fruits exposes kids to new flavors and textures to stimulate their senses. This snack combo gives kids energy and nutrients for a strong finish to the school day.

Offer cubed cheddar, mozzarella, or other favorite cheese along with apple slices, grapes, berries, and citrus wedges. Include a whole grain cracker for added crunch.

Veggies and Hummus

The plant-based protein and vitamin E in hummus supports cognitive function and reasoning. Carrots and cucumbers provide vitamin A and antioxidants for eye and brain health. The variety of textures and colors engages kids and exposes them to new, nutritious foods. Together these components help kids stay alert and focused in the classroom.

Make quick hummus by blending a 15-oz can of chickpeas with lemon juice, garlic, and tahini. Pair with an assortment of colorful raw veggies. Store hummus and veggies separately.

According to health expert Thomas Riley, owner of the health and wellness site Nootroedge, "A balanced mix of proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and fresh fruits and veggies provides the sustained energy and nutrients kids need to stay focused in the classroom. Get them involved in preparing their own lunches to get them excited about mindful snacking and learning about nutrition. Proper fuel will give them an advantage for academic success."