Moms have long known that what their kids eat can promote physical health, but their diet can also be the key to mental well-being. As back-to-school time approaches, incorporating these brain foods into daily meals is a delicious way to provide the nutrients necessary for learning, memory and other cognitive functions.
- A healthy breakfast including eggs gets kids off to a good start. This classic morning favorite is rich in choline, a substance that contributes to the creation of memory stem cells, and the high protein content helps kids to focus. Wrapping scrambled eggs in a burrito makes them fun to eat. As a bonus, it’s portable so they can eat it on the go.
- Oatmeal’s high fiber content means that it digests slowly, providing a steady supply of glucose to maintain energy levels instead of the spike-and-crash that results from sugary foods. Kids who find it to be too bland will love this baked oatmeal layered with fruit. Blueberries add an extra boost of potassium and vitamin C, two more elements important for brain health.
- Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential component of brain development and heart health as well as a natural mood elevator. Moms who may be skeptical of getting their kids to eat fish will be surprised with the results when they disguise it as a “burger”. Using buns with zinc-laden sesame seeds doubles up on the brain food factor.
- Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving. It contains tyrosine, which contributes to alertness, along with tryptophan, which is a natural mood regulator and promotes quality sleep. Adding turkey to a favorite dish like pizza makes it even more appealing. It’s also a way to sneak in some nutrient-rich leafy green vegetable such as spinach.
- Brain food can also be used for snacks that kids will enjoy. Beans and other iron-rich foods help to improve focus and memory. This bean dip is simple to make and pairs well with crunchy tortilla chips. The choice of salsa makes it easy to adjust the heat to a kid-friendly level.