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October 26th, 2017

Brain Food for Kids: Healthy Fats

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Healthy Fats = Brain Food

This week I want to dive into the topic of nutrition, and how fueling our bodies with the right foods can meaningfully affect cognitive abilities! While we know that consistent test preparation is crucial, factors such as focus, motivation, and mental alertness may fizzle if we are running on empty.

It is important that you explore your children’s food preferences with them so you can decide on the right study snacks or meals that both taste good and sustain them through their test prep. Have them help you make a list of their top study foods that they could look forward to eating. When food choices are better solidified, test preparation can take center stage.

Today I’m going to focus on healthy fats. Over the next few weeks I’ll discuss proteins and carbs.

Healthy Fats

Nuts: Integrating nuts into your child’s diet can work wonders for his or her study performance. Nuts such as pistachios, walnuts, almonds, macadamias, and cashews all contain high levels of essential fatty acids that aid in cognitive performance. Nuts are also a major source of iron, which helps to contribute oxygen to the brain. This added dose of oxygen is critical for information retention and wakefulness.

Helpful Tip: If your child isn’t the biggest fan of nuts try roasting them in the oven! Roasting can help to extract all of the amazing flavors. It’s as if you’re eating a potato chip! You can even put some cashews or almonds into a food processor to blend into cashew or almond butter. It’s an unprocessed and delicious snack that can be a sweet treat! Of course, ignore this option if your child is allergic!

Avocado: In today’s society, avocados are a hot commodity! Maybe it’s the bright green, smooth texture, or fresh scent that provides avocados with such an allure. Avocados have great monosaturated fats that aid in healthy blood flow. You may notice that your child’s level of alertness and mental sharpness will improve. Not to mention, this power-food has a fatty and creamy texture that will help keep your child full for longer.

Helpful tip: Slipping an avocado into your meal and or snack can be easy! Instead of mayonnaise or butter, add some avocado to your toast. Maybe mash some avocado up to make a quick guacamole. You can even use it to balance out your salad, or secretly slip it into a delicious breakfast smoothie. You will not even know it’s there!

Peanut butter: We cannot forget to mention peanut butter when it comes to the best foods for studying – it is jam packed with heart healthy fats, fiber, and protein that satisfies both your mind and body. These essential properties provide your body with a surge of energy. Peanut butter is an excellent alternative to the traditional chocolate bar, or processed candy nut bar. Additionally, peanut butter has been known to restore balance and equilibrium to the body’s sugar levels.

Helpful tip: Apples, celery, and even carrots dipped in peanut butter are excellent snacks; they also add an extra dose of fiber to your child’s body! Peanut butter is also amazing when added to marinades. There are many recipes online and in cookbooks for Thai peanut sauces. It’s a great way to turn a naturally sweeter butter into a savory meal.

Healthy fats are important to our bodies and prevent high cholesterol, clogging arteries and even diabetes. There are several other types of healthy fats: salmon, olives, olive oil, flaxseed, chia seed, tuna and even an ounce of dark chocolate!  Healthy fats benefit brain function and promote healthy blood flow. A healthy flow of blood to the brain means a highly functional brain!  So be sure and add these foods into your weekly meal plan.

 

Healthy Food Series:

Healthy Proteins

Healthy Carbohydrates

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