Back to School: Packing brain food for your kids

News4Jax shows you what to pack in your child's lunch box to keep them healthy and help them perform well at school.

Pencils, pens, paper, folders, backpacks … your kids are all set and ready to go back to school! But have you given much thought to their lunches? How can you pack something good for them and their brains?

Studies show good nutrition has a positive effect on kids’ behavior, academics, and sports performance. And what they eat during the day could impact how well they perform in class.

Research shows nutrients are essential for healthy brain development.

Choline is critical for brain function, a hard-boiled egg contains 125 milligrams, which is half the daily requirement for kids.

According to the academy of nutrition and dietetics, kids also need omega-three fatty acids for brain function and to manage psychological and behavioral conditions. So, pack a tuna wrap and a small salad.

Make that salad from spinach and you’ll be giving your kids half the daily amount of folate they need.

Add some veggies with hummus dip and your kids are getting a good dose of zinc.

And don’t forget an afternoon snack bar made of oats. A study in 12- to 14-year-olds found oats have a low glycemic index, which helps maximize cognitive function.

Nutritionist Steven Burroughs, an instructor with clinical nutrition at the University of Central Florida’s Department of Health Sciences said, “these foods, in combination, provide the essential nutrients to keep our kids healthy and strong.”

To get more buy-in from your kids, try posting a menu on the outside of your refrigerator so your kids can circle the foods they want throughout the week.