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If you have or take care of your children, we know how important a good meal is to nourish both their bodies and minds. Proper nutrition is essential for optimal health including the development of a kid’s brain. Although your child’s brain only weighs 3 percent of their body weight as an infant, by the time they are 2 years old it already weighs in at 8 percent! Hence, it's never too early to start providing your kids with fuel for the mind.
During your child's stage of adolescence, their personality is going to be in the process of being formed for the first time. Throughout their childhood, a lot of diverse nutrients have already been introduced into them with or without your knowledge. In order to ensure better quality for whatever remains of their development cycle, you have to play some sort of role in nourishing them as best as you can. To do this, it's recommended that you make sure they're getting everything essential in one way or another.
This article by Mums Mall discusses 9 foods that promote healthy brain function through childhood and adolescence, along with tips on how you can successfully add these brain foods into the meal plans of your toddlers.
Green Leafy Veggies
Introducing your baby to new foods can be a challenge, especially if they're not used to eating them. One way around this is by blending certain vegetables with different food types that he already likes. Spinach and apples are suitable examples of this. Some leafy greens contain nitrates and are actually considered more suitable eaters when introduced between 10 months - 16 months because that's when your baby's digestive system starts to turn over properly (can it get worse). Leafy greens such as spinach offer lutein and vitamin K, which contribute to brain activity.
Lentils are a superfood that makes for a great buy, both for your health and wallet because of their high nutritional value, providing you with iron, protein and fibre. They are considered a type of pint-sized powerhouse because they have an abundance of nutrients. They are the most preferred legumes or beans to be consumed by food lovers! Lentils are soft and easy to experiment on. You don't have to soak lentils overnight because they cook quickly (within 40 minutes). And best of all, you can make a wide variety of soups both chunky or creamy by experimenting with spices in them.
Eggs are full of nutrients that are essential for cognitive function and the development of the brain. An Egg is loaded with fat-soluble vitamins and consists of Choline, Cobalamin (Vitamin B12), Selenium and Protein. Apart from these, the egg yolk is rich in Cholesterol, which is important for the brain cells. Choline is a significant nutrient that plays an important part in brain development and functioning of the memory cells.
Dairy Products (Milk, Yoghurt and Cheese)
Vitamin B family such as B12, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine are the building blocks for healthy enzymes and for neurotransmitters that enable our brains to properly transmit information. Dairy products are believed to be a great source of this. Low-fat or non-fat dairy is also a good way to stop or slow down the progress of age-related mental deterioration while improving your body’s immune system fighting cancer. Found in low-fat breaks such as mozzarella sticks and cheese curds, dairy is an excellent source of Vitamin D which you need in greater amounts than adults when you are growing.
Nut and seed-eating have been linked to improved brain function, but it can be difficult to eat nuts and seeds using conventional means. Nuts (particularly walnuts) contain substances called bioactive compounds that assist in improving cognitive function. However, the considerable fact here is how the bioactive compounds are digested. People who get their vitamin E from natural rather than synthetic sources can improve blood values for zinc, selenium and minerals such as magnesium or calcium – all of which are important for cognitive function.
Wholegrain foods are rich in carbohydrates (carbs) and fibre, so it's only natural that they're going to keep you feeling fuller for longer. These foods also contain lots of B Vitamins, which helps in the working of the nervous system. The nutrients that wholegrain foods have, shown improvement in auditory attention and memory. This helps improve your mood, mental clarity and ability to focus (AKA auditory attention) while increasing your memory capacity making it easier to learn or retain information (AKA memory cognition). Add both wholegrains and cereals to most meals by switching out white bread, wraps, and crackers with whole grains instead!
Berries are a great way to add flavour and nutrition to just about any dish, whether that be in desserts or as a healthy snack. They're full of vitamin C and antioxidants, which help improve memory while also aiding in other areas of focus such as brain function. Berries come in many different types including strawberries, cherries, blackberries and blueberries. They can be eaten raw for a convenient snack or mixed into smoothies for faster digestion. Raspberries contain even more vitamins than other berries. Also, these anti-oxidants helps to reduce oxidative stress on the body.
Kids' brains need as much help as possible and beans are a fabulous source of vital nutrients for brain growth, functioning and repair. Beans are exceptionally good for kids' brains since they have energy from protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, minerals and something called Omega-3 fatty acids which are important for brain growth. Kidney and Pinto beans are the best varieties to choose from since they both contain more Omega-3s than most other bean varieties. They can keep energy levels high throughout the day helping children stay alert and perform better in school. To include beans into your child’s diet, add them on a salad as a topper; make lettuce wraps using pasta or rice; or add them on top of spaghetti sauce as an extra nutritious meal!
Apple and Plums
Kids often want sweets when they're feeling sluggish. That isn't surprising since most of them are in their early going years at the time. Fruit is an excellent snack for kids because it not only comes with important nutrients like potassium and vitamins A and C but it also contains fibre as well. Apples and plums are lunchbox-friendly options that can give your child a burst of energy without being packed with sugar. Bananas, pears, grapes, and peaches make wonderful additions to any child’s snack arsenal as well.
A healthy snack can offer your child a burst of energy and help them fill their nutritional requirements in one fell swoop. A healthy, balanced diet is not just important for our kids' physical states but also their mental well-being as well. A balanced diet doesn’t relate to age. For instance, a pregnant woman can have a pregnancy diet; It’s all about health.
Fueling up on the right foodstuffs can improve mental clarity, memory, speed of thought and concentration among other things. Instead of sugary snacks that have little to no nutritional value - make your little ones' stomachs happy with a wholesome snack that will give them essential nutrients. Offer your children low sugar, whole foods (instead of overly processed foods) to keep their minds alert, clear and focused after school.