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November 2nd, 2016
Feed Your Child’s Brain: Best Foods for Thinking
posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom
Best Foods for Thinking
Earlier this week, I talked about all the candy and sugar that this holiday (and many others) bring to the forefront for your child. It’s definitely not the best input in large quantities for your child’s thinking brain. We don’t recommend that you eliminate it, but give sugary treats a right place in the everyday food palette. So today, I wanted to talk about food that will not only promote good health, but also will give your child the very best possible nutrients for her brain–to think clearly, concentrate and remember.
Did you know that your “…brain is a very hungry organ — the first of the body’s organs to absorb nutrients from the food we eat.” says Bethany Thayer, MS, RD and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association? So when I say that you feed your child’s brain, you really, first and foremost, are. To ready your child for her tests, you need to ready her brain for action by providing healthy foods!
Input Success Habits in Eating
We all know the saying garbage in-garbage out, right? It’s a computer programming phrase that means if you don’t input the proper functions in a precise way, you will not get the output you intended. It’s the same for what we ourselves eat and the menus we supply for our families. This is an opportunity for us, as parents, to be precise in the input we provide for our children, so their brains and bodies will function at the optimal level. We want to input success habits, while they are young, so they will create good habits to last for their lifetime-long.
If you find yourself not doing so well in this area, we want to help you improve and make better choices–handing you the tools to take your child’s nutrition in hand without falling prey to the latest eating trends. These foods are tried and true fuels to feed your family!
So as you plan your menu, start small and pick a couple of new foods to try to integrate into your family’s norm. I know that big changes come in small steps in the right direction. Here are some great foods with which to begin.
Feed Your Child’s Brain These Foods:
1. Omega-3 Fatty Fish – Salmon, Albacore Tuna, Trout Herring, Sardines, Mackerel
- for brain growth and function
- protein – energy
- choline – memory development
3. Kale/ Spinach
- for learning
- memory booster
4. Whole Grains, Oatmeal
- glucose and fiber, which regulates the release of glucose
- Vitamin B – healthy nervous system (keeping all those brain synapses firing!)
- Vitamin E, potassium and zinc
- focused and fueling an “electric” mind
- function at full capacity
5. Colorful Berries – Strawberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Black Currants
- improved memory
- high level of Vitamin C (antioxidants — protecting the cells)
6. Beans and Lean Meats
- great brain food!
- helps with concentration
- protein, complex carbs, iron, fiber for energy and thinking at highest level for a sustained amount of time
7. Colorful Veggies (notice the trend with “colorful”?) – Sweet Potatoes, Red Peppers, Pumpkin, Tomatoes, Carrots, Spinach, Broccoli
- great source of antioxidants – protecting the cells
- enhance cognitive function and improved brainpower
- increase memory function
8. Sage – this spice is packed with brain boosters!
9. Milk and Yogurt
- best energy source for glucose to the brain
- helps stimulate brain growth
- Vitamin D for neuromuscular growth
- high in Omega-3 fatty acids for brain growth and function
- associated with improved learning ability
And don’t forget, Just Add WATER! Your children need plenty of water everyday for all these wonderful nutrients to be absorbed best into their bodies!
This is not an exhaustible list, but it will get you started with some great ideas for inputting great food choices into your child’s brain. Of course one of the best ways to also ensure great thinking in your child (with the bonus of helping with behavioral issues, too) is adding to all these great foods and water some daily exercise!
We will talk about exercise and some menu ideas for your table next week.