For years now you’ve heard the mantra that breakfast is the best way for your child to start the day. And for good reason. Research has shown that kids who eat a nutritious breakfast before school, have increased focus, creativity, and information retention. But it’s also important to keep the brain food going through lunch and dinner time as well, and you can make it exciting and expand your child’s culinary taste buds at the same time.
So, what foods are best and why?
This luscious ruby-colored fish is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, which have always been touted as “brain food”. Higher levels of Omega 3’s can contribute to improved spelling, reading, and enhanced memory as well as better behavior patterns. Now, what about getting your kids to eat more salmon? Make it into a healthy Salmon Burger by using Salmon patties in place of beef.
This breakfast staple is a great source of protein, and the yolks contain Choline, an essential nutrient which aids in brain development and memory function. Choline is also found in beef liver but, we won’t even attempt to go there in a kid’s blog. Try Huevos Rancheros as an alternative to your standard breakfast line up, and give your kids a taste of the southwest. This recipe uses avocados which also promote brain health.
3. Peanut Butter
The all-American snack time mainstay that provides vitamin E, a robust antioxidant that protects the brain tissue cells from free radical damage. Think of this Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce recipe as grilled chicken tenders with a Thai upgrade. Keep your child’s mind sharp and focused with this out of the box and exciting recipe they will love!
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains send a constant supply of glucose to the brain and converts into energy, which increases focus and concentration. Whole grains also come chock full of B vitamins to nourish the nervous system. Add this fantastic Buckwheat Soba Noodle Ramen Soup to your repertoire for kid approved slurpable goodness!
Often hailed as a magnificent “grain for the brain” this pillar of the breakfast table is an all-time classic for good reason. Oats are rich in magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Each promote enhanced cognitive ability, processing, and memory function. Instead of traditional oatmeal for breakfast try this jazzed up Indian version for a change of pace.
These nutrient dense super fruits boast high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. The addition of berries into your diet will help keep your child’s memory sharp and protect those growing brain cells. Look for an intense color because that indicates the highest levels of nutrients. Now that the weather is warming up delight your family with a Blueberry Sorbet. Try this refreshing and healthy dessert option in lieu of ice cream.
With a super supply of folate, this versatile brain food is a true winner. Folate speeds up the brain’s capacity to process and retain information. For a one-two cranial punch try kidney or pinto beans which also contain more omega 3’s than the other beans. Take a trip to the Bayou and enjoy this healthier version of the Cajun/Creole classic Red Beans & Rice.
8. Dark Leafy Greens
Cruciferous vegetables like dark leafy greens are vitamin and mineral packed powerhouses brimming with potassium, folate, and phytonutrients that supercharge brain health. Pass on the potato chips and serve up these roasted Kale Chips as a crunch satisfying and brain boosting snack alternative.