Brain Food For Kids: Feed Your Children So They Excel At School

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - 1:28pm

By Marissa Lippert, RD To the dismay of countless youngsters and to the delight of parents across the nation, another new school year has begun. Amidst all the back-to-school shopping, after-school activities and hours of homework, don't forget to stock the fridge and pantry with nutritious food choices for a healthy head-start this fall. Provide kids with the nutrients they need to power through a long school day, alert and ready to hit the books and participate in extracurricular activities.

Breakfast is important
You've heard it before...and Mom was right...and I'm going to say it again—research studies indicate thatbreakfast is the most important meal of the day. The nourishment and energy from healthy food sources in your child's breakfast will rev-up her metabolism and spark her cognitive function enormously. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that skipping the first meal of the day can hinder academic performance and interfere with cognition and learning among school children. For more information on why breakfast is important for kids: see 5 Important Reasons your Child Should Eat Breakfast.

Foods and nutrients that build brain function
Moving on from breakfast, here are specific foods and nutrients that can enhance your child's diet and increase brain development and function:

1. Choline is good for the memory
This nutrient is found in eggs and nuts. It augments brain and memory development. • Simple Suggestions.... o o Start the day with some scrambled organic eggs with a few fresh vegetables mixed in, served over a slice of wholegrain toast. Serve up a fun "wild west wrap," with scrambled eggs, salsa and Monterey jack cheese served in a high-fiber whole wheat wrap.

2. Antioxidants for memory improvement
An abundance of foods are packed with brain-boosting antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C &vitamin E. • Simple Suggestions.... o Work in fresh fruit and vegetables at mealtimes and snacks. Nuts, beans and legumes are also rich in antioxidants. Pair a hummus or black bean dip with fresh cut vegetables for a fun "dip and dunk" snack kids will love.

Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed meal into cold or hot cereal at breakfast or mix it into a yogurt-fruit parfait at snack-time. 4.  Flaxseed is high in fiber to aid digestion and is packed with healthy omega-3 fats. satiating breakfast on-the-go. *Note: Watch your young child's consumption of tuna because of its high mercury content.. whole-grain carbohydrates contain folate and other B vitamins which help improve memory function and are rich in fiber.  For a morning wake-up call of whole grains. Whole grains to improve your memory function Complex. the kids won't even notice. Omega-3 fatty acids improve cognitive functions An important player in bolstering cognitive function. o Simple suggestions.. and heart-healthy oils (like olive oil). Top with fresh berries or banana slices and a touch of honey for a burst of natural sweetness.o o If you've got a picky eater. get creative with a tasty homemade yogurt-fruit smoothie as an energizing afternoon snack or a quick. flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed. o Simple suggestions. Aim for one to two times per week. providing a steady stream of energy so your child can ace that math test. Try incorporating vegetables into pasta sauces and soups or top homemade pizza with veggies of your child's choosing. omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats found in a variety of foods including cold-water fatty fish (like salmon and tuna). Add vegetables into kid-friendly dishes and get them involved in the cooking process.  Make the switch to 100% whole wheat bread and look for wholegrain cereals with 5 grams of fiber of more. nuts (like walnuts and almonds). Choose unsweetened flavors to skip excess sugar and calories. 3.. avocado. and choose chunk light tuna in water which contains lower amounts of mercury than albacore. try hearty steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast. ..  Get creative in the kitchen with your kids and encourage them to taste new foods such as avocado or grilled salmon. you never know where their taste buds will take them! Slip two to three thin slices of avocado into sandwiches or whole wheat wraps for a brain-boosting lunch.

Keep kids energized throughout afternoon activities and pack a homemade trail mix such as dried cherries. beans.. Water keeps your concentration levels up Staying well-hydrated is extremely important and helps prevent fatigue and keep concentration levels going strong...5.   Skip the sugary soda and reach for a bottle of water instead! Bring a little ‘zing' to regular water with a slice or two of lemon. o Simple suggestions.. the requirement is 800mg. Iron for mental alertness Iron-rich foods also improve mental alertness and energy levels. dried fruits. tofu. 1/4 cup equals a single serving. lime or orange. calcium's great for growing youngsters to strengthen bones and help them remain active. Use antibiotic-free turkey slices and regular or lite cheddar or Swiss cheese..to eight-year-olds. raw pecans or almonds. 6. edamame and fortified cereals and OJ. poultry. and wholegrain cereal. Lean sources of red meat. • o Simple suggestions.. yogurt and cheese as well as almonds. Remember that a little trail mix goes a long way.. Foods that drain the brain . and whole-grains are excellent choices. spinach. • Simple suggestions. Test out whole wheat pasta for a healthy switch to complex carbohydrates.the kids will love the fun shape.. For four.  Pressed for time? Pack turkey and cheese ‘roll ups' for a quick and easy snack or as part of a healthy lunch. o o Top off an easy weeknight spaghetti dinner with a few meatballs using 93% lean ground round. golden raisins. which is 4 ounces. salmon.. Nearly 85% of young girls and 60% of boys ages nine to eighteen don't hit their daily calcium target of 1300mg. *Note: To limit your child's consumption of excess sugar and calories. Calcium to strenghten bones Last but certainly not least.  Make sure your fridge is stocked with healthy calcium picks such as low-fat milk or soy milk. 7.. limit juice intake to the recommended daily amount.

olives. here are a few healthy recipes that enhance cognitive function without sacrificing kid-friendly flavor.Now that you've got your brain-boosting list down pat. spinach). pepper to taste . if desired 3-4 fresh tomato slices Assorted vegetables of (broccoli. "spinach hair" and "red pepper lips" Salt. blend until smooth. red & green peppers. often causing short spikes in activity and then crashing lows from excess sugar and artificial ingredients. allow kids arrange into a funny face with "olive eyes". colas and juices Refined white sugars and breads Trans fats and partially-hydrogenated oils Processed snack foods and luncheon meats Brain-boosting recipes (kid-tested and approved!) Whether you're scrambling to get the kids out of the door in the morning with a quick breakfast or making a fun family dinner on a Friday night. Banana-Berry Smoothie (serves 2) 1 medium banana 1 cup frozen mixed berries 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (if desired) 1-2 tbsp ground flaxseed (if desired) 1/3 cup of 1% or 2% milk 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt 2-4 cubes ice Put all ingredients in a blender. steer clear of certain items that can quickly drain energy and kids' attention levels. Funny-Face Veggie Pizzas (serves 1) 1 mini whole wheat pita 2 tsp olive oil Garlic powder to taste 2-3 slices of fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese 2-3 leaves fresh basil. Bypass the following items on your next trip to the grocery store: • • • • • • Foods with artificial sweeteners or coloring High-fructose corn syrup Sugary fruit drinks. Check labels and ingredient lists.

balance and coordination . Cranberries for improvements in memory. and supplementsactually make you smarter? In other words. the brain is made up of 60% fat. Food For Thought: 10 Foods To Increase Your Brain Function Wednesday. cheese and veggies into a funny face. hunger. RD/LDN Eating a healthful diet has always been wise. The nervous system relies on neurotransmitters to communicate messages within the brain. Yellowfin Tuna protects against Alzheimer's A cold-water fish. B vitamins play an essential role in brain function. Consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids keeps cells' membranes flexible and maximizes their ability to allow important nutrients in. Choline is a component of two fatlike molecules in the brain that are responsible for brain function and health. foods rich inantioxidant nutrients. help protect brain cells from free-radical damage caused by environmental pollution. which also protects the brain againstAlzheimer's disease. How the brain uses nutrients The brain uses carbohydrates for energy and omega-3 fatty acids for forming its cell structure. and sleep. 2006 . yellowfin tuna is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. some foods can maximize your brain's potential and remove obstacles to optimal functioning and disease. Egg yolks for your brain function A healthy benefit of egg yolks is that they contribute choline to the diet. But can certain foods.11:58am By Michèle Turcotte. In combination with folic acid. Bake at 375°F for 6-8 minutes until cheese melts and browns. vitamins B6 and vitamin B12 help manufacture and release chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. This is important if we remember that structurally. is the concept of "brain food" factual or just hype? Recent studies have shown that nutrients may have significantly positive effects on the brain. In fact. such as those that regulate mood. Protection against free radicals is important to protecting the brain well into the golden years. arrange tomato. 3.Drizzle olive oil and garlic powder over pita. drinks. MS. such as vitamin Cand vitamin E and betacarotene. In addition. Yellowfin tuna is rich in the B vitamin niacin. 1. Spinach protects the brain from age-related problems Spinach helps protect the brain from oxidative stress while reducing the risk of suffering from an age-related decline in function. Researchers found that feeding aging rats spinach-rich diets significantly improved their learning capacity and motor skills. A choline deficiency may contribute to age-related mental decline and Alzheimer's disease. 4. Including spinach in your diet may lessen brain damage from strokes and neurological disorders. October 11. 2.

preventing the constriction and dilation characteristic of migraine and tension headaches. 8. iron. magnesium is a mineral that helps relax blood vessels. 9. as well as health and vitality. Just half a cup provides 70% of the Recommended Daily Value (RDV) for vitamin C. Strawberries reduce the risk of age-related brain decline Strawberries help protect the brain while reducing the risk of developing age-related brain function decline. as well as choline and magnesium. 10. Research studies have shown that strawberry eaters may have a higher learning capacity and better motor skills than nonstrawberry eaters. Lamb Loin aids concentration and mental performance Lamb loin is eaten less in the United States than almost any other country in the world. folic acid. Thiamin is critical for cognitive function because it is needed to synthesize choline. 6. Moreover. calcium and magnesium. 5. Kidney beans are rich in inositol (part of the B-complex vitamin family). 7. They are rich in vitamin B6 (necessary for manufacturing a certain kind of neurotransmitters). balance and coordination. as well as carbohydrates (the only fuel source the brain uses) and antioxidant nutrients (vitamin C and beta-carotene).Animal studies suggest that cranberries protect brain cells from free-radical damage. Inositol may improve symptoms ofdepression and mood disorders. Other good sources are flaxseeds and olive oil. consumption of this tart fruit is associated with improvements in memory. Another good source of choline is peanuts. These are all important nutrients for brain fuel. This is unfortunate because it is rich in vitamin B12 and iron. Kidney beans to improve your cognitive function One cup of cooked kidney beans contains almost 19% of the RDV for the B-vitamin thiamin. Iron is important for brain health because a deficiency can impair concentration and mental performance. Sweet potatoes provide nourishment for the brain Sweet potatoes are especially brain-nourishing. In addition. Increased intake of magnesium has been shown to reduce episodes of these types of headaches. Wheat germ is good for the brain Wheat germ is a powerful brain food because it is rich in vitamin E and selenium (both very potent antioxidant nutrients). . B vitamins. Raisin bran to prevent migraines and headaches Raisin bran provides carbohydrates.

A child who is fed with a well balanced diet and with adequate physical activity will improve these qualities in children. For a healthy brain the child should Eat Well. tomatoes. 6. Peanut butter is also a very good source of antioxidants. Fried foods. Oats is called as the “Grain for the Brain” by the nutritionists. and it shrinks when the child’s body is dehydrated. Walnuts can be crushed and put with the breakfast cereals or mixed with the milkshakes. Apart from giving a healthy diet. processed foods. solving puzzles are also equally good to improve their brain power. cauliflower. good at their extracurricular activities like music or dance or painting etc. Foods with Antioxidants are also brain boosters. yogurt. Whole wheat bread. Coming to the food part there are some Super Brain Foods which can sharpen your little tot’s brain. Last but not least sleeping well for around 7-8 hours/day for the children above 5 years of age and 10-12 hours for children 0-5 years age is important for their brain growth and development. Oats etc wonders in your child’s brain growth. 2011 Everyone wants their children to perform well at the school. Let them play outdoors games like cycling. Almonds. Foods high in Choline (Choline is a B vitamin) are Eggs especially the yolk. Foods which contain Omega 3 fatty acids are oily fishes like sardine. Play Well. Nuts like Groundnut. tofu etc help to do Complex Carbohydrates which is present in Whole grains like Whole wheat atta. 1. Brain contains improve their concentration at schools. So they should drink enough water to prevent dehydration. 5. THERE IS ONE MORE REASON TO SAY NO TO JUNK FOODS Yes. Playing board games. . 80% water. playing cricket for at least 1-2hours/day. Drink Well and Sleep Well. Apart from all these new age moms prefer a calm and less hyperactive child and a child with fewer tantrums. Good sources are Green leafy vegetables. Foods containing too much sugar will cause a spike in the blood sugar levels of your child and make them hyperactive and distracted from doing their activities. let your child play well also which helps them in their overall sharpening of their brains. LET YOUR CHILD GET ADEQUATE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND SLEEP Because of the Apartment housing systems and nuclear families our children do not play much outdoor games instead they watch TV and play computer games. 2. 4. sugary cereal and other foods containing more sugar are equally bad for their brain growth and development. oranges. improve their alertness and also can help your child to be less hyperactive. This lack of physical activity also deprives their brain growth. Iron containing foods such as dried fruits and leafy vegetables are not only important for your child’s growth but also to Water is also an essential nutrient to hydrate your child’s brain and increase their mental sharpness. The Super Brain Foods are listed below which are helpful in boosting the brain health of your children. tuna and salmon.SUPER BRAIN BOOSTING FOODS FOR YOUR CHILDREN Posted by Satya4 MAY. 3. Vegetarian sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are flax seeds. As these foods are different in taste children may not like so the flaxseeds can be powdered and mixed with the wheat flour to make rotis or other sabjis or can be mixed with the curds. Walnuts and wheat germ which is available in grocery stores are good sources of antioxidant Vit. walnuts etc. provides your Childs body with slow and steady supply of fuel especially the brain. strawberries etc. Ragi.E. And thus reduces their brain power. the junk foods not only make your child a couch potato but also they are brain drainers. Bright colored vegetables and fruits are high in antioxidants. which is a better alternative to the regular butter.

co.Sc.in M. Registered Cell: umakrishnapillai@yahoo.BRAIN BOOSTING FOOD CHOICES FOR YOUR CHILDREN Brain healthy Breakfast choices Breakfast is the Brain Food so please doesn’t allow your children to skip it. Consultant +919538768000 . Whole-wheat bread Toast with Peanut butter Oats porridge with crushed walnuts.Uma. sliced tomato &carrot fingers in yogurt dip Dal rice with cauliflower carrot fry and tomato slices Rasam rice and omelet with chopped tomatoes and carrot finger salad Brain healthy Snack choices Groundnut candies Strawberry milkshake (flax seed powder can be added to it to make it more healthy) Scrambled eggs Mixed nuts Roasted peanuts Yogurt smoothies with fresh strawberries K..D. Nutrition R. almonds and raisins Rotis made from whole wheat flour (wheat flour can be made rich with flax seed powder or wheat germ) Muesli with strawberries and scrambled eggs Pasta with carrots and peas and orange juice Ragi dosa made with pureed spinach leaves and sambar Cereals with mixed nuts and dry fruits and scrambled eggs Brain healthy Lunch choices Curd Rice with beans fry Palak paratha with tofu fry.