Healthy Lunch Ideas…

It’s that time of year when summer festivities are fewer and we regain a better schedule even if we aren’t the ones directly with kids or young adults heading back to school.  Remember that the nervous system and the brain need fuel and thrive in particular from whole foods, B vitamins and fat.  If you or your child is having difficulty with energy, mood or memory, be sure you’re checking these basics.
Nuts and Seeds
  • Avoid refined sugar, genetically modified grains, poor quality dairy products and other highly processed foods like poor quality lunch meat. The foods on this list will have an array of negative health effects from brain fog, fatigue and inflammation. Sugar causes inflammation and a weakened immune system; GMO grains create foreign proteins in your gut which stress the digestive system; healthy low-fat dairy is a myth- go full fat and support your brain!; processed meats have tons of chemicals you do not need or want (think carcinogens). To make sandwiches, replace your store bought bread with better ingredients like Ezekial bread or make a lettuce wrap instead! Replace your lunch meats with a healthy meat. Buy and cook your own meat from a market or local farm where animals are raised in healthy conditions. Cook your roast or breast and then slice it thin for your own, healthy lunch style meat. 
  • Eat foods for function! Foods that will help sharpen your focus include a side of celery, sliced peppers, or carrots. These great veggies provide your body with Luteolin which helps to reduce inflammation and improve memory. Add peanut butter (check that there is no added sugar or hydrogenated oils!) or hummus for dipping!
  • Don’t forget your B vitamins! Packing a side of steamed or raw broccoli and cauliflower, having eggs for breakfast (best way to start the day is with protein!), and packing a healthy meat can all provide a healthy source of Choline which can help brain development, boost cognitive function and improve learning and memory! Eggs, beef, and fish will give your brain a B12 boost and help with memory!
  • Blueberries are a good option for fun finger fruits. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that improve learning, thinking and memory. If you or your child are a “hand-to-mouth snacker” – eating blueberries, one at a time, and thoroughly enjoying them may be a good side for your lunch! Add almonds for additional vitamin B and an enjoyable crunch!
  • Walnuts and pumpkin seeds provide an easily packed snack that is high in Omega 3’s which are good for the brain and memory.
  • Don’t forget your sleep! Nobody is going to function well, have clear memory, feel energized, or have a good mood if sleep isn’t planned for and implemented. Be sure that everyone in your household is getting the appropriate number of sleep hours each night. Infants are recommended to have 16 hours, Teenagers are recommended to have 9 hours, and adults, (persons above 25 years old) are recommended to have 7 to 8 hours.
  • Finally, remember that vitamin D is good for the brain and for stress. With Fall upon us, it may be time to ask Dr. Jena if you’re getting adequate vitamin D or if it needs to be supplemented throughout the winter. Vitamin D has also been linked to stronger immune systems which is always helpful with back to school!
Yours in health and happiness, 
Dr. Jena Hullman, DC

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