Poor nutrition can affect a child's behavior, school attendance, classroom performance and overall development. The brain requires a large number of nutrients to produce neurotransmitters and other important brain compounds. These include vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The human brain is an amazing organ that requires a great deal of energy function properly. It gets this energy from sugars. Brain friendly foods are the ones that provide beneficial sugars that are low on the glycemic index. Healthy carbohydrates are the key to improved brain performance. As adults we grew up hearing that breakfast was the most important meal of the day and most agree that it still is today. An ideal breakfast provides a balance of complex carbohydrates and protein.
Things You Will Need
Brain friendly breakfast food
An easy way to make sure kids get the nutrition they need is to follow a simple formula: dairy + grains + fruit.
For the first part of the formula, provide low fat dairy products such as milk and yogurt. Also eggs and low fat cream cheese are good sources of protein. Low fat chocolate milk can help provide some variety.
Oatmeal and bran cereals provide a low glycemic index that makes them brain friendly. Also, the high fiber content promotes digestive regularity and may help to reduce cholesterol levels as well as providing a full feeling.
Whole fruits are better for the brain than simply juice. The fiber in whole fruit slows down the absorption of fruit sugars. Choose fruits such as apples, cherries, grapefruit, grapes and oranges.
Docosahetaenoic acid, DHA, which is found in fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel, is an essential fatty acid that is linked to brain development and health. DHA is now included in prenatal vitamins and infant formulas to help developing baby brains. DHA supplements can also be found in the vitamin aisle.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. An ideal brain friendly breakfast provides a balance of complex carbohydrates and protein.
Tips & Warnings
Foods with a low glycemic index do not push the pancreas to secrete as much insulin. This helps blood sugar levels to be steadier so a child will not have the highs and lows associated with a sugar rush.