FOOD FOR FOCUS
My kids are at the age where they want to do EVERYTHING! And while I love that they want to play every sport, take every dance class, and play every instrument, they’re bodies and minds need rest. Digesting certain foods can stress out the body, and expel lots of energy in the process.
What foods should you feed your kids to help them focus and maintain their energy levels all day? Luckily, the list of stress-inducing foods is shorter than the list of healthy foods. Kids may prefer the processed and fried foods, but I promise that after a short amount of time, they will start to crave healthier foods.
Sugar is more addictive than cocaine, and also the most damaging to a developmental child. Ever wonder why children with learning disorders are prescribed a gluten and dairy free diet? That’s because anything that ends in “-ose” is sugar: sucrose, lactose, glucose… all sugar.
When my 18-month old middle daughter suffered from chronic ear infections, we all suffered. 13 ear infections in less than 12 months nearly broke us all. The doctor recommended surgery to implant ear tubes. I wanted to avoid surgery and decided to cut gluten and dairy out of her diet. She went 6 months without an ear infection. Then, while on vacation in Florida she got a double ear infection so bad the doctor said that her eardrums may rupture. That’s when I made the decision to do both – ear tubes AND modified diet. Shay is 5 years old, and has had only had 2 ear infections in over 2 years…
Yes, she eats gluten now, and some dairy on special occasions, but she can also make her own decisions about food… that’s right… at age 5. She knows what makes her feel good, gives her energy, helps her sleep at night, and keeps her healthy.
When you make good choices for your kids, you’re not just helping them in the short term, you are giving them tools to live happier, healthier lives, forever.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program….
Here’s my TOP 10 FOOD FOR FOCUS RECIPES:
Breakfast: Most important meal of the day! Kids need lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies… but do you have time to prepare a veggie omelet with pasture raised eggs and a side of organic berries every morning? NOPE!
Here are 3 of my favorite breakfast recipes that can be modified to your kids’ tastes… oh, and you’ll love them too!
- Overnight Oats: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/overnight-oats-oats-on-the-go/
- Frittata: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/mamas-mini-frittatas/
- Pancakes: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/easy-pancakes-any-flavor/
Lunch/Dinner: In my house, lunch and dinner meals are interchangeable, unless my kids are at school. Lunchtime ranges between 11am – 1pm, with a healthy snack to keep energy levels high. Snacks include apples (or apple sauce), bananas, carrots, celery, cucumbers, and sometimes the random “healthy” pre-packaged snacks (check out my article on healthy sideline snacks for a list of “Mama Approved” snacks).
My kids decide what they eat at school, and sometimes make bad choices… and that’s okay. They are kids, and I cannot make all of their lives’ decisions for them. But at night, at home, I make sure they have healthy choices. Here are my 4 favorite recipes for Lunch/Dinnertime.
- Chili Mac N Cheese: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/healthy-chili-mac-n-cheese/
- Sneaky Mama Meatballs: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/sneaky-mama-meatballs/
- CauliTots: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/mamas-cauli-tots-cauliflower-tots/
- Chicken Pot Pie: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/gluten-dairy-free-chicken-pot-pie/
Dessert: This IS my kids (and my) favorite meal of the day. So how do I make those beautiful babes happy, but keep the sweet treats healthy? Here are 3 of my fave dessert recipes:
- Banana Ice Cream: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/banana-ice-cream-episode-1/
- Apple Cake: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/healthy-apple-cake-bars/
- Zucchini Brownies: https://mamaoneill.com/2016/gluten-free-zucchini-brownies-that-will-blow-your-mind/
Growing up in NYC, I was lucky to have friends of all different races/nationalities, socio-economic status, and backgrounds. I ate at their homes, and sharing food and laughter with them. As you start to write the health plan for your family, I encourage you to view food as an asset, as a creative outlet, and a way to unite us together through sharing love & yum. Our children are our future, and together we can ensure a brighter future.
Wishing you lots of love & yum,
Lindsay “Mama” O’Neill
For these and more recipes, please visit MamaONeill.com