Brain foods help with homework

Kids scavenging for food doesn’t work well in our house. They like to know what, when and how much they can consume for an afternoon snack. I like them to have healthy snacks that help get them through their homework, rather than sweet treats that make them energetic. I try to keep trail mix, jerky, cheese sticks, fresh fruit and prepped veggies on hand.

I have a drawer in the fridge designated for snacks that are already prepped for them to grab and go. Occasionally I will make cookies or granola bars, but they really need something that will give their brains a boost.

Tuna sandwiches are a great after-school snack because they give the kids brain energy to keep going. Nuts – we love almonds – are another great brain food. These are great because the kids can munch on them while doing that homework. Blueberries are also a great snack, and easy to pop in while writing or multiplying. It just takes a few moments each week to get the snacks prepared. The alternative is a free for all, and I know that sugar will be a main ingredient, which is not the best brain food.

Don’t forget the drinks. Having a pitcher of cold water or tea ready will be a pleasant escape from the heat, and it will keep them away from sweet drinks. Well, unless they dump a bunch of sugar in their tea, but we can cross our fingers. Or you can presweeten the tea with a reasonable amount.

Kids are going to go for the easy snack and drink. If you are ready for them, they will eat the healthy snacks prepared. If you’re not ready, then the easy snack is usually full of sugar. Of course, if you don’t have any sweets or sodas in the house for them to grab, that would be better, but I’m not quite there yet.

Here is a great granola recipe I got from a friend several years back.

Melissa’s granola bars

3 cups quick oats

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup coconut

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup chocolate chips or 1 cup mini chips

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons honey

Mix all ingredients together. Place in a 13-by-9-inch greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool and then cut into bars. You can package these in snack bags, or seal several into a food saver bag for later.

This week’s menu is based on the Treat’s ad on page A10.

Tuna melts

Sloppy Joes

Chili dogs or “Matlock dogs” (a hot dog with everything but the kitchen sink)

Pesto tortellini with fresh tomatoes

Strawberry pancakes

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Corissa has been a resident of Calaveras for over 25 years. She is a mother of 4 who loves raising her kids in such a supportive community. Writing was never something she saw herself doing and it has been a wonderful new adventure.

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