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4 Essential Feeding Tips for Back-to-School Focus for Kids

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

Girl doing her schoolwork in a classroom with other children

When it comes to feeding our kids to support healthy attention levels for school, I often talk about there being ‘thinker helpers’ and the opposite.

There are foods that can help kids focus, just like there are other foods that can make focusing a bit harder.

While packaged foods are definitely more convenient and generally accepted by most kids, many of our commercially prepared foods are void of nutrition and full of unnecessary additives. The wrong foods can make us feel sluggish, ‘foggy’, irritable, and sometimes physically ill.

Luckily, it’s much easier these days to find yogurt, fruit snacks, granola bars, and other lunchbox favorites made with healthier ingredients, including natural colors and flavors instead of artificial ones.

Packaged healthier food choices

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Here are a few healthy eating tips for maximizing learning potential for our kids:

1. Watch out for those antinutrients, or product ingredients that have little to no food value. Our bodies can’t process these additives into useable nutrients.

Partially hydrogenated oils, excess sugars and sodium, preservatives, pesticides, free radicals (from frying) …these all block the absorption of essential nutrients.

Check your food labels carefully and try to ditch the artificial ingredients often found in favorite kid foods (think clean/whole foods).

I know it can be a challenge with picky eaters to mess with their preferred brands. Taking baby steps by making gradual feeding changes can help with your long-term goals to build a better eater.

The Build a Better Eater book

Get my short, but essential guidebook to learn how to successfully transform your picky eater into a Brave Taster!

2. Yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when it comes to our kids having the proper fuel to function for school focus. We want to structure breakfast into the busy morning routine, making sure there is time for the meal that jump-starts our kids' brains and bodies for the day.

But what our kids eat for breakfast is really important. When kids have breakfasts that are processed carbohydrate foods (think toaster pastries, sugary cereals, white toast with jam), they get quick energy but as the carbs turn to sugar, the result is fatigue and decreased focus.

Food art with nut butter on toast scrambled eggs and fruit

3. Having a high-protein breakfast with complex carbs (think eggs, lean meats, whole grain breads, fresh fruit) jumpstarts the metabolism and helps kids to remain alert all morning. Eating high-protein foods helps to prevent lethargy, irritability, and hyperactivity which certainly leads to a better school day.

4. Choose high-fiber foods - Fiber is essential for healthy digestion. It relieves constipation (a common problem for picky eaters), it helps to regulate our blood sugar, and it keeps us feeling full, among other important functions.

Whole grains, nuts and seeds, and fruits and vegetables are excellent high-fiber foods and contain an abundance of other essential nutrients. If your kid’s school is a nut-free zone, sun butter is great lunchbox alternative.

A muffin tray filled with healthy snacks

It’s a quick and easy recipe to make ahead of time with the kids, and perfect for a nutritious school morning breakfast!

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!


All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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