Parents are laser focused on their child doing well academically. I mean, what parent wouldn’t want their child to do well in school? Did you know that what your child eats has a huge impact on how your child performs academically?
Growing Your Child’s Brain
For children, their nervous system and brain is still developing. What they eat is an important part of this construction. The food they have is the material that will supplement their brain development. Therefore, it is essential that they have the proper nutrients by eating the right foods to help this development along and not impede it (1).
Unfortunately, there are many types of foods children are exposed to that are harmful. From that Happy Meal to that Pop Tart, foods high in sugar and saturated fats are troublesome and are not the right sort of things you want your kids to be ingesting (especially at a young age.) These foods cause sugar spikes and drops which negatively impacts your child’s concentration at school and home.
It’s important to make sure your child eats foods full of micronutrients, and it’s just as important that your child isn’t eating foods devoid of nutrients like those empty calories found in chips, sodas, juices and pretzels.
This is where foods rich in nutrients vital to cognitive development come in. These highly nutritional foods help maintain steady insulin levels in the body. They won’t break down into sugars instantly and they are the sorts of foods your child should already be consuming.
These foods which boost energy levels and mental capacity are called superfoods.
Superfoods will boost your kid’s brainpower and turn him into a thinking machine! Remember, your kid is what he eats. Each superfood is dense with essential materials that your child will need to get his mind rolling. Some are filled with complex carbs, others are filled with choline or omega-3, which are all there to promote brain development and cognitive health.
These foods can help with overall brain function. From preventing memory loss and holding off Alzheimer’s, to maintaining energy levels and promoting cognitive function; these superfoods will make it easier for your child to get good grades, stay focused at school and at home.
So why not make him super with some superfoods.
I know he’ll love that!
What Are Superfoods?
Superfoods are naturally occurring foods such as fruits, vegetables and proteins that are high in essential nutrients, such as minerals, antioxidants and vitamins (2). These foods are considered to be very helpful to overall health. Most, if not all of superfoods can be found at your local health food market, in your pantry or in your refrigerator.
They are not elusive and can easily be added to a meal you are already making, eaten as a snack, packed into your child’s lunchbox, or enjoyed as a dessert or dessert topping. These foods are packed with essential nutrients and ones that are not easily found in more common foods.
That’s why they’re called superfoods because they are—well, they’re super!
Check out our superfood dense recipes we put together just for your kid: Super Food Recipes Your Kids Will Love!
Carbs are the energy source that fuel that engine of a brain your kid has. Complex carbs rich in fiber are essential at stabilizing and balancing the brain (5).
Carbs breakdown into glucose, a sugar that the body can use for energy, but unlike simple carbs, which are troublesome because of how fast they can be broken down, throwing off energy levels and causing weight gain; complex carbs breakdown slower and will keep your child’s body better regulated (5).
By making sure you feed your kid a wholesome meal rich in complex carbs will help boost his mental powers and make him a thinking machine!
An example of a food rich in complex carbs is oatmeal. Oatmeal is not only a perfect brain food; it is a perfect food to feed your child because of how many different ways it can be prepared.
From mixing in some nuts and berries, to scooping in some peanut butter, oatmeal can be served in many ways that will satisfy your little one. Remember, oatmeal is great for helping your kid concentrate (4, 5). I boil some water, add the oatmeal while I’m getting my twins ready in the morning. It’s ready when they are ready to sit down and eat. I smash up a banana, add some cinnamon and serve. They gobble it up every time.
Choline is an essential nutrient that helps develop the brain, with brain function and is useful for getting the mind to communicate with other parts of the body (5). It is found in many foods, such as Brussels sprouts and different types of beans.
It can also be found in eggs.
Eggs aren’t just stock-full of the nutrient choline, they’re also rich in protein, which is important for building strong muscles (3).
Eggs are an easy food to introduce in a number of meals, they can be mixed in rice for a stir fry or mixed to be made into an omelet. Eggs are the perfect brain food to get your child thinking more (again.)
Antioxidants can protect your child’s brain from turning into mush, as it were (5). They are a rich and vital nutrient that can be found in many different types of naturally occurring foods, such as berries.
Berries, blueberries in particular, are rich with this nutrient. Blueberries are linked to improving brain function and preventing heart disease (3).
They also may help reduce belly fat! Now, that’s a win!
These foods have also been linked to staving off degenerative brain disorders (3). So boost your kid’s immunity and give them a healthy serving of berries. These highly dense, nutritious berries are a perfect add-in that could be scooped onto any dessert or other superfoods, like oatmeal.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Omega-3 fatty acids help develop the brain and stabilize moods (5). Foods high with omega-3, such as nuts and fish are always tasty and an amazing brain food. Salmon, in particular is full of Omega-3 fats as are walnuts.
Not only are walnuts tasty, they are also rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients that help improve blood flow. Improving blood flow means there’s more oxygen that can reach your brain, thus improving cognitive abilities (4).
Recent studies suggest, that walnuts can help improve memory (4). This makes it the perfect snack to feed your kid before school or before you remind them of their chores. So during the holiday season, be sure to sprinkle some walnuts in your oatmeal or on your child’s treats. Crush some walnuts up and add them to your salmon dish. Or make your own walnut butter and spread on some whole wheat bread.
More Brainy Superfoods
And remember, there are many more superfoods out there! So not only can you supplement your kids breakfast, but also their entire day with these foods.
- Acorn squash
- Brown rice
- Coffee (for adults)
- Dark chocolate (limited amounts because of caffeine)
- Green tea (for adults)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Wheat germ
- Whole-grain breads
So start your child’s day off right and give them a healthy serving of superfoods. Give them some much needed brain food and watch their attention stay! You won’t regret it and neither will your children.
Give Your Child a Leg Up With Brain Foods
Just like their minds, a child’s stomach is very impressionable. Most parents wouldn’t show their child an R-rated movie, so why do so many parents feed their kids fast food and processed foods? We think it’s because not enough is commonly known about how these foods are hurting our kids.
Having twins myself, I know how each day can just be about survival! And, after a long day with the kids or at work, the thought of making a meal and then dishes can be daunting. I get it!
Everything in moderation; processed foods and fast foods is ok, occasionally. But if you want what’s best for your kids and for them and you want them to exceed academically, fuel their bodies and brains with the food they need, even if it’s not the easier choice.
Check out our other articles in our Childhood Nutrition Series:
- Why You Shouldn’t Put Your Child on a Diet. Do These 9 Things Instead.
- How to Best Talk to Your Kids About Their Weight!
- Why Food’s Marketed to Kids Causes Weight Gain
- How Juice Went From A Health Food to Junk Food
Additional Information and Resources
WebMD: 7 Brain Foods For Kids
Feeding My Kid: Super Food Recipes Your Kid Will Love
Momvelous: 10 Superfoods for Super Healty Kids
Huffington Post: 12 Superfoods to Boost Your Brain Power
What to Expect: Brain—Boosting Food For Kids