As a mum or as a parent, one of the utmost thoughts you have is the growth and development of your child. You are always thinking of ways to improve your child’s diet so that they develop properly; not just physically but mentally as well. Below are 10 foods that can improve a child’s performance at school?
As schools are soon to resume back in session, one of the worries some mothers have is the issue of meals and snacks to pack for their child to take to school. Coming up with ideas for lunchbox meals is not an easy task. You also have the task of making sure that the meal you give your child is not just healthy but contains the right nutrients they need for brain development.
Children need food that feeds not only their growing bodies and muscles to help them move and keep them active but foods that help with brain power. Children are in school for about one-third of every day. So nutritionally, they need foods not only for physical energy but for cognition, retention, focus, and memory.
Certain foods have been identified to contain essential vitamins and minerals need for Brain Power development.
Some of these foods are:
1. Milk & Yogurt: Dairy products are a good source of nutrients such as Vitamin B which is necessary for the growth of brain tissue, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. Low-fat milk or yogurt is a great source of protein and carbohydrates for the brain. Dairy is also an excellent source of vitamin D, which children and teens need in greater amounts than adults.
2. Beans: Beans are good for children’s brains because they contain protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also keep energy levels high in your child. Kidney beans are really good as they contain more omega-3 fatty acids than other bean varieties, which are important for brain growth and function.
3. Nuts: Nuts have long-term benefits that reach into old age. It was found that eating a diet full of vitamin E rich nuts can reduce cognitive decline as you age. Nuts also contain essential fatty acids that help students focus. They provide a good amount of iron, which provides increased oxygen to the brain for better alertness and the ability to retain information. Nuts provide a great deal of energy for a small amount of food.
4. Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate has tremendous brainpower benefits, including increasing blood flow to multiple parts of the brain. Dark chocolate also contains a healthy minimal amount of caffeine that improves brain function in children.
5. Berries: Berries can help improve memory and are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants. Seeds from berries also contain omega-3 fats that help with brain function. Look for strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries – the more intense the color of the berry, the more nutrition it has.
We spoke to Mrs. Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo, a mother, wife, and founder of August secrets, a baby and toddler food solutions company. According to her, “Foods that are balanced with a generous serving of major food groups really help to build healthy and smart children.”
She provided us with a list of some BRAIN FOODS that help make children smarter.
1. OATMEAL: Oatmeal is rich in fiber and Vitamin E, a nutrient known to boost the memory and it is also filling. Try Oatmeal porridge for breakfast or Oatmeal flour as fufu with any choice of soup. You can also use Oats to make cookies for after-school snacks.
2. PEANUT BUTTER: With its high rate of protein, fats, and traces of glucose, peanut butter is a brain food that children should be eating. Homemade peanut butter is made by simply grinding peanuts or cashew nuts into a paste. You can make Peanut butter into sandwiches or used to cook easy meals for kids.
3. SPINACH: Spinach is high in iron, an essential brain-building nutrient for children. You can make it into smoothies or add it to meals like noodles or rice.
4. MACKEREL FISH: Mackerel Fish, otherwise known as Titus Fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that also help to boost brain capacity especially in children. Salmon is also another nutritious option. Try adding them into the children’s diet not less than twice per week.
5. EGG: Apart from the high protein content in eggs, the choline, a nutrient high in eggs is important for brain development. Try Egg Toast, Boiled eggs with rice, Veggie Egg Toast, Cloud bread and so on.
For a smarter, energetic and all-around healthy child, we advise that you include these foods in your child’s meal plan.
With this list of foods, it will be easier to come up with ideas for meals and snacks that will be beneficial to your child’s mental development. This sounds like the perfect recipe for better performance at school!