8 Brain foods for healthier children

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Olivia Cheng on a diet that supports cognition and learning

We all know healthy kids need a proper diet.

Children lead busy lives and they need the energy to manage a full day and the nutrients to help them grow strong.

Along with foods that will fuel your child’s day and help them grow, you also want to consider a diet that will support brain development. The right foods will not only assist with brain development, but they can support better cognitive function and help them learn.

Consider the following foods if you are looking to create a brain-healthy diet for your children.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and kale are important for supporting brain health. These vegetables are high in nutrients like vitamin K, folate, beta carotene and lutein. Research has shown that these types of vegetables can slow cognitive decline later in life and they also provide nutrients that are important for building new brain cells.

Making a salad is one obvious way to introduce these vegetables to your child’s diet. If your child doesn’t like salad, consider adding spinach to an omelette or to lasagne. You could also make tasty smoothies and add kale or spinach without your child knowing.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds can be a great source of protein and they are also rich in fatty acids and other nutrients. If you are looking for nuts and seeds to add to your child’s diet, consider options like almonds, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and pecans.

Nuts and seeds can be good as a snack to serve throughout the day. You could eat them on their own or make a trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruit. You also have different types of nut butter you can use as a spread. Beyond peanut butter, you could consider healthy alternatives like almond butter and sunflower seed butter.

Eggs

Beyond being a great source of protein, eggs are also an important brain food. Eggs can be a good source of vitamins B6 and B12. Along with that, they are also rich in brain-healthy nutrients like folate and choline. Research has shown that choline plays a role in protecting the brain and that the intake of choline is associated with healthy memory function.

Parents have a lot of options when it comes to introducing eggs to a child’s diet. One easy way is to serve eggs as a part of breakfast. You could also make egg sandwiches to eat later in the day or make wraps using a whole-wheat tortilla.

Apples

The health benefits of apples are well-known, but many people do not realize that they are also a brain food. Apples can be good as a source of vitamin K and quercetin, which has been shown to protect the brain from neurological diseases. Apples can be a sweet treat that will be a healthier alternative to things like cake and candies.

Apples can be the perfect snack to pack in your child’s lunchbox. You could pack the apple whole or slice it up and give your child a dipping sauce. Apple juice can also be an option for introducing more of this fruit to your child’s diet. You just need to be aware that many store-bought juices have a lot of added sugar.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish can be good for adding a range of brain-healthy nutrients to your child’s diet. Many of the fatty fish can provide nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin K and niacin. Along with that, they are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with better brain health. Consider adding fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines to your child’s diet.

You have a lot of options for adding these fish to the menu at your house. A tuna fish sandwich is one obvious way to get more tuna in the diet of a child. You could also consider grilling fish as a part of dinner or you could cut the fish up and make fish nuggets with dipping sauce.

Greek Yogurt

Fat plays an important role in brain function. With full-fat Greek yogurt, you have a healthy option for adding fat to your child’s diet. Along with that, there is research to suggest that the probiotics from yogurt can have a positive effect on mental health.

Greek yogurt is another food that offers a lot of options for adding it to the diets of you and your children. One good option is to add berries for a delicious treat that is also healthy. You could also add the yogurt to smoothies as another way to make a nice snack for you and your kids.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a breakfast classic that is healthy for the brain and body. Oatmeal contains nutrients that help to promote better blood flow through the body and the brain. There is even evidence to suggest that eating oatmeal in the morning can help children perform better on memory tests.

Oatmeal is another brain-healthy food that offers some nice options. Children could get the benefits by eating it plain, but you could add healthy fruits and other flavourings to make it a more complete and healthier meal.

Plums

Plums offer another sweet option for parents that want to provide their kids with food that is good for the brain. Plums are rich in vitamin K and they also have quercetin. Both of these nutrients have been shown to be good for supporting brain health.

Plums are sweet and they can be another option for packing as a snack in your child’s lunchbox. Sliced plums can also be good for adding to foods like yogurt or as an ingredient in a smoothie. You could also make a nice fruit salad with plums and other healthy fruits.

These foods offer a variety of options for building a diet that will support better brain development for children. Some of these foods are great as meals and many are perfect for snacking.

You just need to find a few ways you can introduce some of these foods to your child’s diet throughout the week.

Olivia Cheng
Author: Olivia Cheng

Olivia Cheng
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