As a parent, you want to do everything you can to help your child thrive at school. Recently, more and more research has pointed to the connection between the gut and the brain. A healthy gut microbiome facilitates cognitive function by producing neurotransmitters, regulating hormones and absorbing brain-boosting nutrients among other things.
Follow the tips below to make sure your little one has a gut-healthy lunch that will fuel them in the classroom and beyond!
Pack the rainbow
Plant diversity is crucial for gut health, but we know it can be a challenge to get kids to eat one vegetable let alone the suggested 30 per week. When packing your lunchbox, focus on small, easy ways to sneak more plants in. For example, sprinkle hemp hearts on sandwiches, blend carrots or squash into mac and cheese and go with grapes or watermelon for dessert instead of sweets made with refined sugar.
Make Fiber Fun
The good bacteria in your child’s gut thrive on prebiotic fiber. Have at least one or two items in every lunchbox that is full of it. Fair & Square’s gut friendly crackers are an easy snack that pack a prebiotic punch. The number one ingredient in their school-safe snacks is organic green banana flour, which is 40% prebiotic fiber by weight. We love to dip them in hummus or guac for an extra fibrous boost.
Introduce Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics that help promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Try to include one fermented item in every lunch box. Plain yogurt with berries or crunchy pickles are an easy win. If you want to get more adventurous, involve your kids in the fermentation process by making kid-friendly kimchi or sauerkraut to add to sandwiches or rice. While these foods might be intimidating, getting them to help will add some ownership and excitement.
A hydrated gut is a healthy gut but plain water can be boring and sugar-filled juices are a big no for gut health. Make water more fun by infusing it with fresh fruit, herbs or cucumber slices. We love strawberry mint or honeydew melon and cucumber. If the water is still coming home at the end of the day, pack fruits and vegetables with high water content like watermelon, oranges, bell peppers or celery.
This blog was written by Fair & Square. Check out their gut-friendly crackers to add to your snack pantry!