#BackToSchool: Foods to help your child concentrate in class

#BackToSchool: Foods to help your child concentrate in class

Dietitian Sylven Masoga warns parents to be mindful of what they pack in their child’s lunchbox.

Mom putting lunch box with healthy food in backpack
Mom putting lunch box with healthy food in backpack/ iStock

It’s the start of the new school year in South Africa.

Hundreds of cute #BackToSchool images flooded the internet with parents sharing the excitement of seeing their kids returning to school.

READ: KZN gives its verdict on smelly lunches in the office

One of the things parents can do to ensure that their children excel in school is to give them nutritious food that will not only keep them healthy, but help them concentrate.

Dietitian Sylven Masoga from The University of Limpopo says parents should stay away from giving their children junk food.

“It’s back to school and as dietitians we encourage parents to pack nutritional snacks,” says Masoga.

“Avoid sweet things and any non-nutritional snacks."

Sandwiches are one of the easiest lunchbox ideas.

Masoga says parents should use margarine and spreads that are rich in Omega 3.

Although Masoga says Omega 3 helps with brain development and coping in class, he says parents should thinly spread and avoid putting too much spread, because this could be harmful.

“Parents should not forget to pack fruit for the child. Fruits are a great source of vitamins,” he says.

Apart from fruits, Masoga encourages parents to pack vegetables for their kids, as they are also nutritious.

He says when you make vegetables for kids, avoid adding too much oil because that could easily spoil the food.

“If possible, grill the vegetables,” says Masoga. However, he says when grilling, don’t think the vegetables are too dry and add oil unnecessarily. 

“Those who do not have grillers, just boil but don’t add any sugar or any fat to avoid early spoilage.”

Masoga says it is very important for children to have enough fluids, especially in this hot weather.

“Ensure your kids have enough fluids. Prioritise water, because the body uses it for many other functions. After water, give them milk because it has calcium and phosphorus which is good for their bones. You can also pack tea because it can be taken whether cold or hot and then also give them juice,” says Masoga.

“Avoid fizzy drinks. Diluted juice is better."

Remember, you are what you eat, so give your children healthy foods!

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