Let’s talk about your workday for a minute. How does that connect with your child’s brain, you ask? Great question! We’ll get to that.
We’ve all experienced it before. You start the day off motivated and ready for action, but the energy dwindles a little until lunchtime—finally, a break! You scarf down lunch expecting a reboot, but it’s quite the opposite. By early afternoon you’re crashing. Your focus is off, your memory is shot, your eyelids begin to droop…
That afternoon crash you’re experiencing is due to a sudden drop in blood sugar. When you eat a lunch high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, your blood sugar spikes and—what goes up must come down, so— crash. That crash leaves you feeling slow and sluggish.
If you’re feeling this way at work—do you think that maybe your kids are feeling the same way at school? That math equation is a lot harder to solve on limited brain power.
To give your children their best chances at success, their lunchboxes should be filled with healthy fats (for brain development), whole grains (for lasting energy), legumes (for muscle repair, brain development, digestive health, and energy), and fruits and vegetables (for antioxidants, optimal functioning of all systems in the body, and healthy growth). Keep away unhealthy foods that will affect their brain function, their body, and even their mood.
Below is a list of 10 amazing foods for optimal brain development and function. Fill their tummies with the good stuff, and their brains will benefit too.
Avocado is a creamy, delicious, and incredibly versatile fruit. It’s full of the “good” kind of fat that keeps blood sugar levels steady, preventing those dreaded dips in energy. Avocados contain vitamin K and folate— two nutrients essential to cognitive function, memory, and concentration.
Beans are packed with so many important nutrients including protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. There are many ways to get a kid to eat beans— in a burrito, a burger, or a taco— heck, blend it into a creamy texture with other delicious ingredients and spread it on their sandwiches (hummus, anyone?)! If your kids eat beans for lunch, they’ll brain will function on full capacity throughout the afternoon.
Berries are some of the foods with the highest levels of antioxidants available. Studies have shown improved memory with regular helpings of blueberries and strawberries. It shouldn’t be a problem getting your children to eat these sweet and colorful fruits!
Broccoli is one of the most celebrated superfoods for its rich nutrient profile. It contains very high levels of vitamin K and choline, helping to keep memory sharp. It’s also high in fiber and in vitamin C (just one cup provides 150 percent of your recommended daily intake!)
Egg yolks are one of the best sources of choline, an important nutrient for brain development. Try making an omelet sandwich on whole grain bread to send with your child to school.
Dark leafy green vegetables, like spinach, kale, collard greens, and mustard greens, are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They contain essential nutrients which fight inflammation and keep bones and muscles strong. According to new research, eating regular helpings of leafy greens can prevent dementia.
Feed your kids rolled oats or steel cut oats— not fast-cooking instant oats— for satisfied bellies and long-lasting energy. This whole grain is loaded with fiber, vitamin E, B-complex vitamins, potassium, zinc, and many other nutrients which are all necessary components to proper development. Your kids will stay alert for hours after a bowl of this stuff.
Salmon is an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids which directly impact healthy brain growth and function. Swap out tuna salad sandwiches for salmon salad sandwiches using canned salmon, or make salmon fritters for your little ones to enjoy.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory food which has been used throughout history for its healing properties. It contains a compound called curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. If you can make your kids’ lunches using some turmeric, it’ll help to boost their immune systems and improve their brains’ oxygen intake.
Walnuts are packed with antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. They’re especially rich in omega-3s, which we now know is important for brain health. Studies suggest that eating walnuts every day can improve learning and memory.
So, how does your workday connect with your child’s brain health? Well, if you could use a boost, chances are your child could too. Change your eating habits at home by making healthy foods readily available. Add some brain foods to your briefcase— and to your child’s lunchbox— to provide yourself and your children with the best chance at success. When they’re feeling energized and alert in class, they will reach their full potential.
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