“A carrot a day keeps the eye doctor away” – we bet you’ve never heard that one before. But actually, if you did eat a carrot a day, you probably would have superb eye health because carrots are full of Beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A that helps to keep the retina in good condition and also helps to keep eye function running smoothly. Food plays a huge part in how healthy we are from the inside out; from leafy green veggies looking after our liver function to wild berries helping to boost our serotonin levels, food can make a huge impact on the quality of our lives. So when it comes to feeding our kids, there are plenty of foods that we can add to their diets in order to keep them as fit and healthy as possible. Even when it comes to eyesight and eye health. As with anything in life, there are no guarantees that eating healthily will protect your children’s eyes from future problems but eating a well-rounded diet loaded with vitamins and minerals can definitely help as a preventative measure.
Here are 4 easy lunchbox snacks to add to their school bags that can help boost their eye health…
1. Carrot & Pepper Dippers
Carrot sticks and colourful bell peppers are bursting with Beta-carotene so these are a must for lunch box snacking. Include a little tub of home-made houmous, sour cream or thousand island dip to make it a little more exciting for your little ones.
2. Kale Crisps
Leafy greens are great for eye health. Full of plant pigments such as lutein and zeaxanthin, they can help to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts in later life. But making kids eat their greens (especially at lunchtime when you can’t be there to supervise) can be a bit of a toughie. Pack their lunchboxes full of super healthy kale but transform it into a tasty treat that they can’t resist; to make cheesy kale crisps, rub fresh kale in olive oil and bake at 150°C for 20-25 minutes in the oven, sprinkle with a little salt and parmesan to taste, then place in an airtight food bag (vacuum sealers are best).
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Not only are avocados a source of healthy fat for your children but they contain lots of antioxidants and also lutein, which is the pigment needed to protect against macular degeneration. A healthy guacamole made from avocado, fresh lime juice, 1/2 a sweet onion, chopped tomato, a handful of coriander and a small amount of garlic (blitzed in the food processor) makes for a super tasty dip. Ideal for snacking on with bread sticks or some raw veggies.
4. Boiled Eggs
It couldn’t get any easier than a boiled egg. Eggs are such as great source of protein for your children and it will help with their brain function during school hours. The yolk is also bursting with lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc which is great for eye health! If your kids complain that eggs are boring, make a healthy homemade scotch egg snack to tempt them at lunchtime.