6 Foods to Fuel Your Child's Brainpower
Check out our list of common grocery store comestibles that can help boost your homeschooler’s brainpower, focus, and productivity!
A breakfast filled with whole grains does a better job of improving short-term memory and attention, studies have found, than eating refined carbohydrates or no morning meal at all. Researchers say that high-fiber whole grains, dairy, and fruits are the best brain fuel, though too many calories can hinder your child’s concentration.
If you’re still reeling from the amount of candy corn your child consumed at the pumpkin patch last week, don’t despair: Sugar sends signals to our brains that make us feel more alert. In fact, studies say that glucose (which your body processes from the sugar and carbs you eat) is the brain’s preferred fuel source.
Include plenty of natural sugar in your child’s diet with foods that are inherently sweet. Thinking requires plenty of blood flow to the brain, and fruits like blueberries and avocados help protect your child’s brain and improve learning and muscle functions. While a cup of apple juice can boost short-term memory and mental ability, too much table sugar can impair memory and lead to weight gain.
Fish and Omega-3’s
Your child’s brain and nervous system are rapidly growing and developing until age five, according to Karlene Karst, a registered dietitian, author, and mom.
“You want to turbo-boost kids’ brain power with a diet of fun, simple, yet delicious foods that incorporate protein and omega-3s – the building blocks for smart and healthy brains,” Karst said.
Rich sources of omega-3 include fish, especially fatty varieties like salmon. Many other foods and beverages are now fortified with omega-3, too, including juice, milk, yogurt, bread, almond butter, and even cereal. If fish isn’t a splash hit with your child, you can add fish oil to his or her diet (recommended only for kids over one year old).
With tons of protein, oatmeal is a great brain food, and there’s nothing better than a bowl of steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. Get creative with brainpower-boosting toppings like blueberries, raw honey, and nuts and seeds, which are packed with vitamin E and enhance cognitive development.
Share a bar of dark chocolate with your child for its powerful antioxidants and – believe it or not – caffeine. While high-caffeinated beverages like coffee are never recommended for children, caffeine is a natural stimulant that can sharpen the minds of adults and children alike.
Finally, fuel your child’s mental focus with a variety of veggies, especially leafy greens like salad with spinach. Another smart food to serve your child is eggs, a good source of protein and the vitamin choline, which helps bodies produce more memory cells throughout childhood.
What smart foods do you buy? Add to our list!