The first few years of a child’s life sets the foundation for strong brain health. Studies show that a nutritious diet from the beginning is key to a child’s long-term well being and development via language, motor skills, cognitively, temperamentally, etc. In a recent CNBC article, contributor, Harvard nutritionist Dr. Uma Naidoo shared brain foods that will help your kids stay sharp and focused.
According to Dr. Naidoo, she found that foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, iron, iodine, zinc, choline and vitamins A, B12 and D support brain function, behavior and learning. Swap out processed foods with added sugars with the following and watch your children stay “sharp and focused.”
1. Super Smoothies can be a healthy creamy delight
In the article, Dr. Naidoo suggests that smoothies are a tasty way to incorporate lots of nutrients into your child’s diet. For those picky eaters that won’t necessarily eat their veges, you can include them into their “milkshake.” For the best superfood smoothie, she suggests that parents add folate-rich and fiber-rich leafy greens like spinach or kale, along with chia seeds or walnuts for plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. To add healthy fats, toss in an avocado. Blueberries are perfect for an addition of an antioxidant-rich fruit. Use plain, unsweetened yogurt.
2. Replace regular fries with homemade veggie fries
Vegetables are extremely important in providing your child with enough fiber and phytonutrients. These are definitely a help with fueling both gut health and mental health. Homemade veggie fries are the way to go. Use an air fryer to add a crispy, crunchy texture instead of frying. You can make homemade veggie fries out of asparagus, zucchini, carrots, and even green beans! Add some seasoning by dashing a bit of black pepper, turmeric, rosemary, oregano, garlic, or whatever you have in your cabinet. For some great recipes and options, click here.
3. Top it all with homemade hummus
Per Dr. Naidoo, homemade hummus is a versatile way to incorporate legumes into your child’s diet. Homemade hummus can be served in so many ways that will be fun for kids to eat. You can serve it as a dip paired with apple slices, carrot sticks, thinly sliced celery, sugar snap peas, or any kind of veggie that you kids love.
4. Go under the sea with salmon
Introducing your child to healthy fish options at a young age can increase their likelihood of enjoying it and eating it for the rest of their life. Salmon is soft and mild enough for young children, and is also a good source of vitamin B12 and Omega-3s. Both B12 and Omega-3s promote healthy brain development and happier moods.
Want to get crafty, hide veggies, and ensure that your kids will eat them up and ask for more…well, healthy meatballs will do it. Use ground turkey and all whatever veggie that you like and watch the kids gobble them up! Use flax seeds to bind the ingredients to add more omega-3s. Bake the meatballs instead of frying them for a healthier option. Dining suggestion: combine the meatballs with the homemade veggie fries!