Wouldn’t it be great to have peace of mind knowing your children are eating the right foods? I would love that.
Unfortunately, what goes into our kids’ bodies is one of the few things they fully control (along with what comes out of it), so I, personally, do not have that luxury. That is why I focus on a handful of foods considered “brain foods,” that help my kids stay sharp throughout the day. Once those habits are formed, I can move on to bigger and even more nutrient things.
WebMD highlights seven smart foods that help kids stay sharp and assist in brain development:
If your child already likes eggs, you’re off to a good start. Try combining them with a whole grain like a tortilla or bread to energize your child without a sugar crash. Another option is to put ham, cheese, and an egg on a whole grain mini bagel for a filling breakfast.
A full-fat Greek yogurt has more protein than other yogurts and can keep the brain in good form sending and receiving information. One way to make it more fun is to provide mix-ins with your child’s lunch or snack like a fiber cereal, fruit, or dark chocolate chips.
Greens can be a tough one to serve kids, so try mixing it in with other foods. You can put spinach or kale into smoothies, add spinach to omelets or pasta sauce, or make kale chips.
If these options aren’t flying with your children, mix broccoli or asparagus into everyday dishes like pasta with marinara sauce. Check out these 20 recipes on delish.com.
Fish is a good source of vitamin D and omega 3s. Options are salmon, tuna, and sardines. I have a hard time getting my kids to eat anything, so I buy the organic fish sticks from Ian’s.
“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 Read It Before You Eat It.
One of the best ways to serve fish to kids is to let them believe they’re not eating it. This easy tuna patties recipe on allrecipes.com presents the fish like a tasty crab cake.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds will help boost your child’s mood to keep the nervous system in check. Protein, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are also a plus. Peanut butter it the go-to option for parents, but almonds, sunflower seeds, or a variety of spreads.
This is a significantly better option than sugary cereals that children load up on at the beginning of the day. Mix oatmeal with cinnamon or other fruits to make it more exciting. The protein and fiber help keep the heart and brain arteries clear.
If you are fighting a losing battle when it comes to serving your child oatmeal, check out these different ways to present it on hellowonderful.com.
Apples and Plums
Apples and plums are easy to pack in a lunch box and contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may fight decline in mental skills. You can pack these fruits alone or pack a tub of peanut butter with cut-up apples to get two brain foods in one.
If your child is willing to eat prunes instead of plums, that is another lunchbox-friendly option that still contains the skin, which is the nutrient-heavy part of the fruit.