It’s no secret that growing kids need lots of love and attention. But it’s not just their bodies that are growing and developing at a rapid rate, their brain is too.
That’s why it is so important to keep children active, healthy and engaged in learning. It’s not just about a balanced diet to keep their bodies healthy and growing, certain foods are good for their brain’s development too.
“Similar to the body, the brain absorbs nutrients from food which assist in development,” says Dr Ryan Harvey of House Call Doctor. “The childhood years are a critical time for brain development, focus and cognitive skills.”
There are certain foods which can offer great support for little minds and boosting brain power:
“Fatty fish like salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids,” says Dr Harvey. “These are essential for brain growth and function.”
Try sneaking salmon into salads, sandwiches, sushi or just pan fried.
“Eggs are a great snack packed full of protein and choline,” says Dr Harvey. “This is a nutrient which helps with memory development.”
So keep those boiled egg and Vegemite soldiers coming! Eggs are a great snack to have on their own or on a wholemeal sandwich.
Not just a pretty colour, berries can help improve memory and are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
“Strawberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries are a great source of fuel for kids brains,” says Dr Harvey. The richer the colour the more nutrition lays within.
Add them to a smoothie, eat them on their own or blend them with greek yoghurt to make your own frozen yoghurt ice blocks.
A winter breakfast favourite in most households, oats provide an excellent source of energy. “Oats are a great source of fibre, vitamin E, B and zinc,” says Dr Harvey. “They are a great food to help the brain function optimally throughout the day,” says Dr Harvey.
Peanut butter is a childhood favourite of many and it turns out peanuts are actually packed with vitamins E and thiamin. “Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect nerve membranes,” says Dr Harvey.
So not only is it a delicious snack that most kids won’t put up a fuss about eating, it is beneficial to brain development too. Either on a sandwich or as a dip for fruit and vegetables, the more the better.
Colourful vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants which help keep brain cells healthy. Particularly tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and spinach are full of antioxidants.
“Fresh vegetables are not only a great source of nutrients for brain health but a regular intake is fundamental to overall health and wellbeing of adults and children alike,” says Dr Harvey.
Yoghurt, milk and cheese are go-to snacks for many kids. Luckily they are just as good for you as they taste.
“Dairy products are full of B vitamins, vitamin D, proteins and carbohydrates which are essential for brain tissue, neurotransmitters and enzymes,” says Dr Harvey.
Lean beef is a rich source of iron which is essential for energy production, helping kids focus during the day.
“Beef is also a great source of zinc, which aids in memory,” says Dr Harvey.