Let's begin with the research:"We are a product of what we eat and absorb. Food cravings and addictions are a real biomedical problem. One known food addiction is to sugar. Sugar can be a contributor to learning disabilities, hyperactivity and it affects the educational process. Learning requires optimal health and brain function. When a child eats inadequately or consumes foods deficient in proper nutrients, the possibilities for learning disabilities increase. With the belief that food affects behavior, memory and learning ability, diet and nutrition may be a contributing factor and assist with the remedy of a learning disability, ADD or ADHD. Sugar affects a child’s ability to pay attention and can contribute to symptoms of being overactive and irritable."
Taken from "The Sugar Connection to Learning" by Nancy Guberti (Gem Learning)
Well...Where's the proof?A study completed by UCLA has concluded that sugar does, in fact, impair the brain's ability to focus and could do significant damage to one's memory.
Lunchbox ALWAYS's, SOMETIMES's, and NEVER's
- Fruit--try to stay away from always sending the same thing or your child will get bored
- Veggies of some kind (this can be a tough one--try celery with a thin layer almond butter and raisins, cucumber slices with hummus, or fresh, whole carrots peeled and cut into sticks with guacamole. Try to avoid sending processed dipping sauces such as Ranch dressing.)
- Lean Protein--beef jerky, grilled chicken, or deli meat
- A "Snacky" type item (still healthy, though) so they don't think you've gone totally bonkers!--pistachios, almonds, peanuts, popcorn, greek yogurt, and cheese sticks are all yummy, healthy options!
- A dessert item that still has some nutritional value--a square of dark chocolate, cookies (2 maximum), graham crackers, etc.
- A healthier option of crackers or chips (not to be included if you have already packed a "carb" item from the "Snacky" list above)--baked chips, NutThins, veggie chips, sweet potato chips, etc. (reduced fat is not a healthier option-read the labels--YUCK)
- Bread--always whole grain
- Traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white or wheat bread (327 calories and 32 grams of sugar! Wow! That's a LOT!). Try sugar free, fruit only jam with almond butter instead.
- More than 1 packaged, processed quick snack that comes in an individual serving
- Lunchables--I understand that these are so easy to grab and go. Next time you pick one up to put it in the cart at the grocery store, check out how long the list of ingredients is on the side. If you can't read it, you shouldn't eat it! The amount of sodium in some of them is enough for your ENTIRE day!
- Sodas or other sugary drinks--Capri Suns, Gatorade, Powerade, Soda, Kool-Aid, etc. Try flavored water or let them get some milk from the cafeteria!
- Fruit roll-ups, fruit snacks, Fruit By The Foot, or other sugary "fruit" items--these are nothing but food dyes and sugar! NOT a healthy choice for your kiddo. There are some that are made with real fruit and nothing but real fruit! You can even see the seeds in them!
- Nutella--although marketed as a healthier option, it is extremely high in fat, calories, and sugar (21 grams of sugar, 200 calories, and 11 grams of fat in just 2 tablespoons!).
- More than 1 dessert item--training your child to believe that dessert comes after every meal is a dangerous habit.