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Lunch Box Foods That Help Children Focus

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On the JJ Barnes Blog, I check out top tips from nutrition experts for lunch box foods that help children focus so I can give my kids the best education possible.

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Back To School

It’s September, which means it’s back to school. While there’s many things that are advantageous about my children being out of the house for six hours a day, there’s two things I struggle with. One is the school run, I hate it, but there’s nothing I can do about it. The second is lunch boxes. I want to make sure my children have a healthy, filling and enjoyable lunch every day, but sometimes it’s hard to work out what I should be including.

An unhealthy lunch can damage children’s learning and development as both our mental and physical health are influenced by what we eat, which has an effect on how well we learn. I want to to put together packed lunches that can help them avoid brain fog, get more energy, and think more clearly in class.

To help me out, Bulk.com nutritionists sent over their top tips for lunch box foods that can help children focus, learn, and have a better time at school.

Lunch Box Foods That Help Children Focus


Kefir is a milk that has been cultured and fermented. It tastes like yoghurt and is naturally high in calcium and probiotics that help the gut. Because of probiotic cultures, eating Kefir can help prevent and treat upset stomachs.

Instead of the usual fruit-flavored yoghurt or fromage frais, you can give your child fruit-flavored Kefir.

Baby Spinach

Vitamins A, C, K1, iron, and folic acid are all found in abundance in spinach. Iron is great for energy because it helps make red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body. A child’s performance in school may suffer as a result of their lack of energy and tiredness caused by iron deficiency.

Baby spinach leaves that have been washed and dried can replace lettuce in your child’s sandwiches to increase their nutrient intake without their knowledge. It’s important to be aware that baby spinach is more tender and sweet than mature spinach, so much more like to be enjoyed by kids.


Because they don’t need to be prepared, bananas are perfect to include in your child’s lunch box. Bananas are a great source of energy because they contain fibers that assist the body in slowly absorbing the natural sugars in the fruit which helps prevent an energy crash and keeps them going through lessons. They make an ideal snack before lunch, at break time.


Vitamins C, E, K, B3, B5, and B6 are found in avocados, making them a nutritious fruit with a variety of nutrients. Avocado is also a good source of CoQ10, also known as coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 has been shown to be beneficial to cognitive function which can ultimately assist your child in school.

A healthier alternative to a packet of crisps, homemade guacamole with oven-roasted pitta or tortillas can be a great addition to your child’s packed lunch. A pitta or tortilla that has been baked in the oven can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week, making them ideal for prepping in advance.


Tuna is extremely low in fat and a good source of protein. Its main advantage are the high levels of chain omega 3’s (LC Omega-3’s). Elevated levels of LC Omega-3’s, found in saltwater fish,  are essential for brain growth and eye health.

Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to reduce ADHD symptoms, as children with ADHD have lower blood levels of Omega-3 fatty acids than children without ADHD.

Tuna in spring water should be used instead of canned tuna in brine or oil because canned tuna has a lot of salt and fat. Tuna can be made into a homemade pasta salad or sandwich filling and kept in the refrigerator for two to three days.

Whole grain pasta or bread

Wholegrains are a great source of fiber, a type of carbohydrate that is often lacking in children. Manganese, an essential mineral for the absorption of calcium that is crucial to bone health and ultimately aids in growth and development, is abundant in whole grain foods.

Wholegrain bread can be substituted for regular white bread in sandwiches, and wholegrain pasta can be used in pasta salads.

Popcorn is a surprising whole grain that can easily replace crisps in your child’s packed lunch, and is a good source of iron, manganese, fiber, and zinc.


Protein is essential for children because it contains amino acids that aid in proper growth and development. Hummus is made out of chickpeas, which are a great source of protein, and perfect for dipping carrot and cucumber sticks in. This is a great option for a lunch that can be packed ahead of time.

White Beans

White beans are a great source of protein, which is great for growth, and iron, which is great for energy. In addition, they can help keep your child feeling satisfied because hunger can cause them to become unfocused during lessons.

White beans, for example, cannellini beans or haricot beans, are perfect for including in a cold wholegrain pasta salad.

Citrus Fruits

Grapefruit, a citrus fruit with a lot of vitamin C and A, is great for immunity, especially as flu season gets closer. It has also been shown to prevent insulin resistance, which can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to studies.

Oranges or easy peelers are great options for your child if grapefruit is too bitter for them. Sprinkle some lemon juice over the segments to satisfy children who enjoy sour sweets

Dried Mango

Because they are so chewy and sweet, this is a great alternative to sweets. Dried mango is high in vitamin C and and great for immunity and promoting a feeling of fullness.

Benefits Of A Health Packed Lunch


Foods that give you energy and make you feel less tired are important to include in a packed lunch because they can keep a child alert during classes.

Include foods that are plentiful in vitamin B or have a low Glycaemic record in your kid’s pack lunch as these are perfect for energy. Even though they are delicious when consumed in moderation, packed lunches should avoid fried foods and refined sugars, such as packets of crisps, concentrated organic product juices, and packets of biscuits.


Long chain Omega-3’s fatty acids are necessary for development and play a role in the development of the brain and eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce ADHD symptoms and improve cognitive function and sleep, both of which contribute to improved academic performance.

Foods made with industrial and processed seed oils (such as corn, sunflower, or canola) should not be included in your child’s lunch because they can hinder brain development and should only be consumed in moderation.


The most common cause of growth problems in children worldwide is malnutrition, which can slow down growth.

If your child mostly easts processed or pre-packaged food, they are probably consuming too many additives rather than the correct amount of nutrients they need for growth.

There is a widespread misconception that children only require calcium for growth. However, they also need protein and vitamin D.


School is a breeding ground for the viruses that cause colds and flu, which can spread from one child to another.

It is essential to ensure that they get the right nutrients because doing so can significantly shorten the duration and severity of cold symptoms and boost immunity. Immunity can be strengthened by consuming zinc and vitamin C on a daily basis. For packed lunches, easy peelers, strawberries, and melon are excellent sources of these nutrients.

My Lunch Box Plans

My ten year old loves hummus and my seven year old loves bananas, so I’m already onto a winner with parts of their lunch box offerings, but I do include processed and unhealthy snacks like crisps and biscuits too. I’ll try and find ways to include the best and healthiest options in a way they will enjoy, because I do want to make sure I’m giving them the best chances possible.

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