7 Lunchtime Foods to Improve a Child’s Focus

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Helping your child focus better during the day while at school could be linked to what they are eating.

HuffPo spoke to nutritionists who say eating certain foods can help a kid maintain their focus better during the day if eaten for lunch, and may improve their academic performance and productivity while at school.

The nutrition experts shares their top focus food picks, which you may already be packing in your child's lunch, which include:

Oranges: Certified trainer Matt Scarfo, who is an expert in fitness nutrition, says the citrus favorite can "improve focus, concentration, and memory," along with being packed with important vitamin C, antioxidants, and eating just 1 orange a day is an easy way to help support the body's immune system.

Canned salmon: Dietitian Monica Auslander Moreno tells HuffPo that canned salmon (which she prefers over canned tuna for its lower mercury levels) "would offer benefits related to cognition and brain development" and the omega-3 fatty acids found in the fish are important for the developing brains of kids. She suggests serving it on sprouted bread mixed with diced celery, chopped onions, and mustard.

Roast beef: Nutritionist Brenna Thompson likes this lunch meat option because of its high protein levels and says it contains iron and zinc, which can help with focus. Try using roast beef in a sandwich or in a pita pocket.

Fresh blueberries and walnuts: Instead of packing a premade trail mix, HuffPo's experts suggest adding fresh blueberries (which are filled with antioxidants) and walnuts (which are high in healthy omega fats and protein that are needed for brain health) can help kids feel full longer and can prevent a blood sugar spike and a crash, all of which can make focusing much more difficult. 

Black beans and roasted veggies: If you are looking for a meat-free meal option, the experts love black beans and roasted vegetables and suggest packing your child a black bean, brown rice, and veggie burrito lunch. The fiber and protein-packed dish will help keep your child full and satisfied and should help them stay focused on learning. 

Dips and dipping sticks: A healthy addition to lunch (or a great snack idea) is a healthy dip (like bean dips, guacamole, nut butter, or hummus) paired with something healthy to dip into it (like carrots, celery, jicama, peppers, pretzels, whole-grain crackers, pita chip, apples, pear). These dips and their dipping sticks will provide fiber, healthy fats, and protein, all of which can help keep your child energized and focused.

Berries and almond butter: Instead of packing your child a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, try using almond butter paired with fresh berries on seeded whole-grain bread. Nutrition specialist Dr. Gena E. Kadar tells HuffPo, “Almonds are rich in essential nutrients and fats that support brain health. “the berries provide polyphenols, which have been shown to support memory retention. Seeds also support brain health, as they are rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin E. Also, the fiber in whole-grain bread helps to regulate blood glucose, the preferred energy source for brain cells.”

Get more foods tips, meal ideas, and nutrition suggestions from The Doctors!

More: 3 Hacks for a Healthier Lunch

More: Mom Becomes Viral Sensation for Adorable Kids’ Lunches

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