Brain-Boosting Foods for the Kids and for You!
A Smart Start to the School Year #wellbeingwednesday
Every year when September rolls around, there is a collective need for a brain reboot! After a couple months off school, getting back into the swing of things can take a moment … for the kids and the adults. Boost everyone’s brain-power with these foods:
Berries – berries are a brain-boosting food that shouldn’t be too tricky to get your kids to eat! You can reap the benefits of Ontario summers well into September as berries are still in abundance (particularly blueberries and blackberries). Sprinkle berries over cereals and oatmeal, toss them into fruit salads, blend them up into creamy smoothies (frozen berries make for the creamiest of drinks) or simply eat them by the handful. Getting these gems into your kids for their antioxidant benefits (which are known to boost cognitive functioning) will help with a smart start to the school year.
High Fibre Foods – fibre keeps you feeling full for longer. This is ideal for kids who may eat breakfast, but don’t eat much of their lunch. Fuelling their bodies with fibre-rich foods first thing will help keep their energy levels stabilized throughout the morning (think less blood sugar crashes, and more attention and focus). If fibre is a hard sell in your household, opt for “sneakier” approaches. Add ground flax meal to homemade muffins, a tablespoon of chia seeds to their morning smoothie or bowl of yogurt, or a handful of nuts and/or seeds to their oatmeal.
Eggs – are eggcellent (sorry!) for fueling your kid’s brains with protein and choline which are both essential for brain development and cognitive health. Eggs are also a nutrient-dense food, meaning, they go a long way towards giving picky eaters the nutrients their growing bodies and developing brains need. If your kids are extra-particular when it comes to eggs, try baking with them instead. Select pasture-raised, organic eggs whenever possible.
Greens – greens can be an easy or tough sell with kids, but it’s worth the sales pitch, as greens (particularly dark, leafy greens) have been shown to boost memory and help with learning. Try blending baby spinach into a smoothie, making homemade kale chips (no dehydrator needed!), or making kid-approved salad dressings and slathering them all over a bowl of mixed greens (try olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and mild Dijon mustard).
Omega 3s – this one could have it’s own separate article to extol all the benefits of omega 3s for brain development and health. Oily fish is the most brain-boosting omega 3 as it contains DHA, the primary fatty acid in the brain. Choose sustainably caught salmon, trout, albacore tuna, sablefish, sardines (I know you’re laughing at this, but some kids are into it!), halibut, and mackerel. Non-fish sources of omega 3 include: walnuts, flaxseed oil, hemp hearts, sea vegetables and organic soybeans (edamame).
Hydration – an often-forgotten “food” is water. Dehydration is a key contributor to foggy-headedness and even headaches. Make sure your kid is sipping water throughout the day, from morning to night. If they are not into water, try fruit-infused water. You can buy a water bottle with a fruit infuser, or freeze tiny pieces of fruit into ice cubes to pop into their water thermoses.