This is a story that was originally post on September 7. 2011, but we couldnt resist sharing it again for lunch week.
Ever heard of a food coma? Perhaps you’ve slipped into one after an indulgent Thanksgiving meal. I usually don’t need a major holiday to sock away too much food at a meal. I used to hit a wall after lunch most days at my office. Yet the last thing I want is for Scarlett to feel tired, distracted and unable to concentrate after lunch. Forget that I used to nearly fall asleep at my desk (Dear Ceri, I wanted to personally apologize to you, my former boss, for eating myself to sleep while on the job.), I want the cards stacked in favor of learning when it comes to Scarlett’s days.
According to pediatrician Dr. Sears, the key to lunches that ”wake up” the brain are proteins high in the amino acid tyrosine as oppposed to proteins-rich in tryptophans which “sedate” the brain. Foods like tuna, seafood, turkey, legumes and tofu are great sources of tyrosine while eggs, milk, bananas and meat are high in tryptophans. If you pair those sedative foods with a lot of carbohydrates (which increases sluggish behavior) then you have a lunch designed to send your kids to bed rather than back to class. Dr. Sears says, “A healthy lunch for school-age children would contain between 600 and 800 calories, with a balance of complex carbohydrates and proteins and a minimum of fats.”
Our picks for lunches that fire the brain….
Tuna Salad is a great mix of proteins that doesn’t necessarily have to be snuggled between two pieces of bread.
Turkey Pumpkin Chili is filled with lean turkey and chick peas so your kids will get a protein and fiber-rich lunch that will keep them ticking all afternoon. Pair with a few crackers and some fruit.
Bean Quesadilla is a great make-ahead-lunch that travels easily.
Turkey, Barley and White Bean Chili can also be made in advance (or maybe it’s leftovers from the night before) and pairs up nicely with some fruit and cut vegetables.