Brain Foods for Children…!!!

Brain Foods for Children…!!!

Nutrition directly affects your child’s:

  • IQ

  • LEARNING

  • CONCENTRATION

  • SLEEP

  • BEHAVIOUR


Children’s brains develop rapidly and providing the right nutrients to maximise their abilities is vital for SMART KIDS.

Starting early encourages good eating habits in later life by learning to enjoy the wonderful textures and flavours of food.

Can Food Boost Energy and Mood?

Doctors and scientists are examining the connections between the foods we eat and our energy and mood. There is scientific evidence to support the fact that dietary changes can have a positive impact on brain chemistry and metabolism, leading to improvements in mood and energy level.

BRAIN FOOD FOR KIDS: ANTIOXIDANTS

What they are: You can think of antioxidants as the nutritional equivalent of Scotchgard — these nutrients protect your toddler’s brain from normal wear and tear.

Where you’ll find them: Blueberries are packed with antioxidants. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are great choices, too. You’ll also find antioxidants in tons of other fruits and vegetables — the more brightly colored, the more nutrient dense. In addition, nuts, seeds, and nut/seed butters are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects brain-cell membranes from damage.

How to tempt your toddler: That classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a brain-building powerhouse when you start with peanut butter enriched with omega-3s (see the brain benefits of omega-3s below) and use sliced blueberries or strawberries instead of jam. Another antioxidant-rich recipe: Stir fresh berries into plain low-fat yogurt (which is rich in choline — see below); or toss the yogurt and fruit, along with some low-fat milk, into the blender to make a smoothie.

BRAIN FOOD FOR KIDS: CHOLINE

What it is: Choline is a nutrient that is essential for brain development and memory function, and it helps the brain communicate with the rest of the body.

Where you’ll find it: Eggs (especially the yolk), beans, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, yogurt, tofu, buckwheat, and lean beef.

How to tempt your toddler: Serve up scrambled eggs, buckwheat pancakes, or waffles. Try a stir-fry with cubes of tofu or lean beef, broccoli, and cauliflower served over buckwheat soba noodles.

BRAIN FOOD FOR KIDS: OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

What they are: These healthy fats are the good stuff in breast milk and fortified baby formulas. They are crucial to brain and eye development, and they help stabilize mood.

Where you’ll find them: Salmon, shrimp, scallops, walnuts, flaxseed, and omega-3 enriched eggs and yogurt.

How to tempt your toddler: Serve salmon fillets for dinner or put salmon salad (you can prepare it as you would prepare tuna salad) on whole-grain bread or tucked inside a pita pocket for lunch. For older toddlers (who are not nut-allergic), you can make a brain-boosting trail mix with walnut pieces, dry whole-grain cereal (like Cheerios), and some dried fruits like blueberries and cranberries — perfect for snack time.

BRAIN FOOD FOR KIDS: COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES

What they are: Complex carbohydrates are fiber-rich whole grains (or starches). They are crucial to the brain’s functioning because they are its main source of fuel. When the body absorbs complex carbohydrates, they’re broken down into glucose, which the body (and brain) uses as energy. If you’re thinking that glucose is a fancy word for sugar, keep in mind that sweets and candy don’t make the grade here. That’s because they are simple carbohydrates (which lack fiber), and when they’re broken down by the body into glucose, they’re absorbed very quickly, causing fast energy highs and even faster lows. The fiber in complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, slows the body’s absorption of energy, which ensures that the brain gets a slow and steady supply of fuel.

The Best Breakfasts

Breakfast is critical for school-age kids. Research has shown that breakfast-eaters do better academically and have fewer behavior problems than breakfast-skippers. (As many as 37% of American kids routinely blow off this meal, reports the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor University.) 

But high-sugar foods set kids up for a midmorning energy crash—right when they’re likely to be in the middle of the more demanding classes, like math or reading. Ideal breakfasts offer protein and complex carbs, which are digested more slowly. Some studies have found that such breakfasts not only keep kids’ energy levels stable all morning, but also improve motor coordination, says Steven Zeisel, MD, a researcher at Duke University.

Where you’ll find it: Whole-grain breads, pastas, crackers, cereals, pancakes, waffles, and brown rice.

How to tempt your toddler: This can be as simple as pouring a bowl of whole-grain cereal or cooking some oatmeal for breakfast. Also easy: Put that brain-building peanut butter and fresh berry sandwich on whole-grain bread for lunch, or make whole-wheat spaghetti with meatballs.

So, if your child is having attention troubles, one of the first things to observe is what he or she is eating and change it.

Spinach and kale is good for learning and memory.
Kid Edible Options: Green smoothies. 

Berries (antioxidants) are good for memory.
Kid Edible Options: (frozen) blueberries 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids power up brain cells with energy.
Kid Edible Options: enriched eggs, yogurt, salmon, and my personal favorite flavored Barleans Oils.

Eggs are good protein and choline for energy and growing brain cells. 
Kid Edible Options: scrambled eggs, egg sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs.Eating a high-nutrient protein like eggs (which have nutrients including choline, omega-3s, zinc, and lutein) will help kids concentrate, Beth Saltz, RD, says. 

How to Serve It:  Fold scrambled eggs into a whole-grain tortilla for a filling breakfast or late-afternoon snack. “The protein-carb combo tides kids over until the next meal with no sugar-induced energy crash,” Saltz says.

High-fiber foods give kids more brain fuel.  
Kid Edible Options: whole-grain breads, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-grain waffles 

DHA is important for brain and eye development.
 breast milk, supplements, fish, Omega 3 Oils. 

Iron is important for brain development.
Kid Edible Options: beans, walnuts, green smoothies, orange juice WITH any iron-rich foods for better absorption, lean-beef meatballs

As fast as children whiz from classroom to activity to home and back again, their brains are just as actively and dramatically growing and changing.

“These years are critical for brain development, and what they eat affects focus and cognitive skills,” psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor of The Happiness Diet, says. 

Food is one of many factors that affect a child’s brain development.

The following 10 foods can help kids stay sharp all day long, and affect brain development well into the future.

Foods To Serve Your Kid To Boos Their Brain Power

1-Sugar

Balanced Blood Sugar

Why is balance so important?

Sugar is your brain’s super fuel. But you have to make sure your child is getting the RIGHT TYPES and RIGHT AMOUNT at the RIGHT TIME.

Too much ‘fast’ sugar means a blood sugar high and hyperactivity. The excess sugar in the blood gets dumped into storage as abdominal fat. Eating little and often helps keep your child’s energy and concentration even.

Too much sugar and your child may be hyperactive and find it hard to concentrate.

Too little and they may feel tired, irritatable and find it hard to concentrate.

How to balance blood sugar?

Go for foods with slow releasing sugars

 

Oats

Brown rice

Rye bread

Whole wheat pasta

Brown bread

 

Vegetables (Excluding potatoes and parsnips)

 

Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day

This will help to maintain your blood sugar levels, and prevent highs and lows.

Combine protein with carbohydrate

Protein slows down the absorption of sugars found in carbohydrates.

 

Cereal with seeds/yoghurt/milk

Fruit with yoghurt/seeds

Toast with egg

Toast with fish e.g. mackerel

 

2. Greek Yogurt

Fat is important to brain health, says Laura Lagano, RD. A full-fat Greek yogurt (which has more protein that other yogurts) can help keep brain cell membranes flexible, helping them to send and receive information.

How to Serve It: Pack Greek yogurt in lunch with some fun mix-ins: cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber and blueberries for a dose of nutrients called polyphenols. 

Or add a few dark chocolate chips. Polyphenols in cocoa are thought to keep the mind sharp by hiking brain blood flow.

3. Greens

Full of folate and vitamins, spinach and kale are part of a healthy diet linked to lower odds of getting dementia later in life. “Kale contains sulforaphane, a molecule that has detoxifying abilities, and diindolylmethane, which helps new brain cells grow,” says Ramsey, coauthor of 50 Shades of Kale.

How to Serve It:

  • Whip spinach into smoothies for snack time.

  • Add it to omelets.

  • Saute it at dinner drizzled with olive oil (the dash of fat helps your body absorb vitamins).

Make chips out of kale: Cut kale from stems/ribs, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt, and bake.

4. Purple Cauliflower

Low in sugar, high in fiber, and full of folate and B6 that help regulate mood, memory, and attention, purple cauliflower also delivers inflammation-fighting nutrients called anthocyanins. 

How to Serve It: Roast and puree cauliflower to make a nutritious dipping sauce for carrots and other veggies such as peppers, celery, and radishes.

5. Fish

If your child is having 3 portions of oily fish and a daily portion of seeds they should be getting a good level to help their brains develop and boost IQ.

How do I give my child all the essential fats they need?

Eat plenty of seeds and nuts

You can grind and sprinkle them on cereal, soups and salads.

Source of essential fats:

 

Mackerel

Flaxseeds

Sunflower seeds

Herring

Pumpkin seeds

Sesame seeds

Sardines

Chia seeds

Walnuts

Anchovies

Omega 3 rich eggs

Tuna steak

Salmon

Naturally fatty fish are a good source of vitamin D and omega-3s, which protect the brain against cognitive decline and memory loss. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are all rich in omega-3s.  

“The more omega-3s we can get to the brain, the better it will function and the better kids will be able to focus,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of R

6-Peanut Butter

“‘Peanuts and peanut butter are a good source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects nervous membranes — plus thiamin to help the brain and nervous system use glucose for energy,’ says Giancoli.

Eat more peanut butter: For a twist on an old favorite, make a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Dip apple slices in peanut butter. Or top off your favorite salad with a handful of peanuts.”

7-Whole Grains

“The brain needs a constant supply of glucose — and whole grains provide that in spades. The fiber helps regulate the release of glucose into the body, Giancoli explains. ‘Whole grains also have B vitamins, which nourish a healthy nervous system.’

Eat more whole grains: It’s easy to find more whole-grain cereals these days (make sure a whole grain is the first ingredient listed). But also think outside the box — and try whole wheat couscous for dinner with cranberries or low-fat popcorn for a fun snack, she suggests.

Whole-grain bread is a must for sandwiches. Switch to whole-grain tortillas and chips for quesadillas, wraps, and snacks

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