Kids use up a lot of energy. We know that fuelling their bodies is so important to keep them healthy and going all day. Fuelling their mind is just as important.
The brain uses glucose as an energy source so the correct foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet will make sure kids stay focused in school and throughout the entire day. Here are some foods to include at meal times which I like to call brain superheroes.
Wholegrains: these are a low glycaemic index food which means that when they are eaten they release glucose slowly throughout the body. This is good for our brains as it means we avoid a sharp burst of energy and focus and then a slump and the inability to focus. Choose wholegrain sources of breads, cereals, rice, pasta etc for meal times to maintain levels of concentration.
Omega 3 fatty acids: these are essential fatty acids which cannot be made in the body and must be obtained from the diet. EPA and DHA contained in oily fish are super brain boosting foods and can be used very easily by the body. Essential fatty acids can also be obtained from plant foods like flaxseeds, soya beans, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. If your child doesn’t like the taste of fish and doesn’t fancy any of the other plant foods listed consider an omega 3 supplement.
You’ve heard it before and I’ll say it again: EAT YOUR GREENS! Broccoli contains vitamin K which can help to aid concentration and brain function so these little green powerhouses are brilliant for your little one’s mind.
Blueberries: beautiful brain boosting berries! These yummy little superstars have been shown to help delay short term memory loss. Who would have thought?! Add them to cereal, yoghurt and salads or as a tasty sweet snack in lunchboxes.
Nuts and Seeds: these contain excellent vitamins and minerals that help boost memory and thinking function. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are especially powerful as they contain the mineral zinc which has been linked to a positive brain function.
Avoid foods high in sugar and fat or those which are highly processed as these will cause a sharp rise in energy levels followed by a slump. Swap the biscuits, chocolate bars and jellies for unsalted nuts and seeds, fresh and dried fruit and vegetable sticks.
Michelle Butler is a Registered Dietitian and one of the founding members of Good4U where she leads the Innovation team. Good4U’s mission is to empower people of all ages to live healthier lives and Michelle hopes that by creating healthy foods without compromising on taste or price this mission will be easily accomplished.