9 Brain Food Recipes to Help Your Kids Excel at School slideshow

Children in elementary school are at the prime age to learn what to eat and what to stay away from

9 Brain Food Recipes to Help Your Kids Excel at School

We spoke with Angela Onsgard, registered dietitian and the resident nutritionist at Miraval Resort and Spa, about the importance of encouraging children to eat healthy. “It’s imperative for our children to consume a nutrient-dense meal mid-day that will normalize blood sugar levels so that they are able to focus in school and maximize leaning potential,” Onsgard said.

Banana Almond Stacks

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This is a protein-packed snack that is the perfect combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Slice the bananas and spread the almond butter in between two slices to form a mini sandwich. Onsgard recommends choosing an almond butter without added oils, sugars, or sodium.

Bento Box

Photo Modified: Flickr / Melissa / CC BY 4.0

“Instead of giving the kids a store bought Lunchables meal, prepare your child a healthy bento box
filled with fresh chopped vegetables and fruit, hummus, antibiotic and growth hormone-free
cheeses, high fiber crackers, and a healthy home-made snack bar,” Onsgard says.

Healthy Chicken Nuggets

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“Most chicken nuggets are made with low quality ingredients and are typically fried and high in saturated fat and sodium,” Onsgard says. “As a substitute, make your child baked chicken nuggets with real chicken breast and buttermilk and panko breading.  A delicious honey mustard dipping sauce can be made with Greek yogurt, honey, Dijon mustard, and yellow mustard.”

Jazzed Up Turkey Sandwich

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“To fix up the traditional turkey sandwich, try adding mozzarella, turkey, and vegetables on sprouted whole-grain bread,” Onsgard says. “Look for products with 100% whole and intact grain. Ezekiel, Arnold’s, Silver Hills, and Alvarado Street Bakery are all good brands.”

Homemade Pizza

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“Rather than pizza made with processed meats and a refined white flour crust, prepare a whole-grain pita pizza with grilled chicken and veggies,” Onsgard says. “Choose antibiotic and growth hormone-free chicken and cheese and allow your child to help you pick out the veggies and assemble the pizza. Prepare the pizza the night before for the perfect ‘pizza day’ lunch!”

Mango Kefir Smoothie

Kefir is a liquid yogurt that provides 210 milligrams of calcium and a variety of beneficial bacteria in a six-ounce serving,” Onsgard says. This can be packed in your child’s lunch or saved as a healthy after-school snack

Salmon Fish Sticks

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Fried fish sticks are high in saturated fat and sodium,” Onsgard says. “As an alternative, prepare your child baked salmon ‘fish sticks’ with almond panko breading and a healthy tartar sauce made with dill pickle, red onion, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and Greek yogurt.”

Sweet Potato Chips


Children love to snack and they tend to eat more from snacking than they do at their meals. Give them a healthy snack option by replacing their bagged potato chips with baked sweet potato chips. “Sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamin A with almost three times the amount needed in a day,” Onsgard says.

Yogurt Parfait

Not only does this meal look appetizing and colorful, but it is filled with protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Top a cup of Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and granola. Onsgard recommends making your own granola using high quality oils, nuts, and seeds, and limiting added sugars. “Pure maple syrup is lower in fructose than honey or table sugar. A small amount goes a long way,” Onsgard says.