With the rise of pressure on your little ones during the school exam period we’ve put together 10 everyday super-foods to help boost your kid’s brainpower ready for the day ahead.
You don’t have to eat the latest expensive super-foods to get a head start. With a handy list of foods from your weekly shop, you can provide your family with healthy inspiring meals which help to boost brain power and motivation for the day ahead.
As the famous saying goes; ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. The type of food we typically eat for breakfast is rich in vitamins, minerals and all-important chemicals. These help to boost the brain’s concentration, retain memory and sharpen the ability to complete significant tasks during exams or throughout the working day.
Start your morning off with healthy carbohydrates which are important for thinking, acting and learning - great for kids. Studies have shown that children who don’t eat a proper breakfast perform poorly on cognitive (thinking) tasks. Foods such as oatmeal, bran cereals and whole-wheat bagels for example are a great source of healthy carbohydrates - Here is a super tasty breakfast bagel recipe.
As well as this, wholegrain foods are perfect to kick start the day due to their slow release of glucose through the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Wholegrains found in granary bread are perfect for toast smothered in yummy honey or jam.,
How do you like your eggs in the morning?
Eggs are well known as a great source of protein and are regularly used in fitness recipes. What you may not be aware of is that the yolk is packed full of choline, which helps the memory development; meaning learning becomes easier as you’ll find it less trouble remembering afterwards (great for revision).
A great tip is to send your kids off to school with a do-it-yourself McMuffin simply made with a toasted breakfast muffin, fried egg and slice of cheese.
The ‘King of Fish’
Something a little more adventurous… Try giving your kids salmon on toast or crackers for breakfast. (Smoked salmon and poached egg make a great combination too – try this recipe).
Salmon, and many other forms of oil fish contain a natural source of omega-3 oil DHA which plays a pivotal part in preserving healthy brain cells, plus stimulating the growth of brain cells in the brains memory centre. EPA and DHA are thought to help you manage stress and produce the ‘good mood’ chemical serotonin.
Make like a banana and split
Busy morning getting the kids ready for school and skipped breakfast? Don’t worry, grab a banana each to eat on the way. The nutrients in bananas maintain regular cognitive functioning for our memory and focus.
Bananas are jam packed with potassium which helps deliver oxygen to the brain keeping your thinking and focus sharp.
Cool as a Cucumber
Water-filled foods such as watermelon, cucumber and strawberries are the perfect morning snack due to their water content. Retaining hydration is important in keeping your memory sharp, your mood stable and your motivation for the day ahead intact.
It is said that when you are hydrated well, you are able to think through and solve a problem more easily. Make sure the kids drink plenty of water, and eat water-filled foods before exams or revision. 20% of our water intake comes from food so send your kids off to school with a box of fruit for their mid-morning snack. ,
Beanz meanz Heinz
Sometimes it’s difficult to control what your kids eat at school during their lunch break – most of us used to chuck away the tuna sandwich mum made and opt for chips and beans from the canteen… however, this may not be a bad thing. Encouraging your kids to eat fun food, which is also the right food is key to controlling your kid’s intake of nourishment.
Beans for example contain energy from protein and complex carbs and fibre, plus vitamins and minerals! Beans help to keep a child’s thinking and energy levels at their greatest all afternoon if they are enjoyed at lunch.
Our good ol’ ‘Salad Days’
Encouraging your kids to choose healthy veggie options for their lunch time meal is important to make sure they’re getting the appropriate intake of vitamins and minerals to promote active thinking and learning. Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach are rich in antioxidants which keep brain cells strong and healthy.
At the weekend, try sweet potato fries by cutting the vegetable into wedges, coating in oil and popping into the oven for a tasty healthy accompaniment to any meal. Sometimes, getting your kids to eat fruit and veg may seem like a chore, but putting veggies such as baby carrots and tiny tomatoes into your kids lunch box accompanied with their favourite dip may just do the trick – perfect for a healthy afternoon snack.
The “meat of the matter”
Now that your little ones have had a day full of brainpower boosting foods, keep up the good work with healthy evening meals. Lean beef is rich in iron which helps keep children stay energised and concentrate at school the next day.
Beef also contains zinc which is said to help with memory retention. A handy veggie option could be veggie burgers packed with spinach which is also full of iron. Try this super tasty falafel burger recipe which is healthy too!
Adding spice to the conversation
Many spices also contain brain cell preserving properties, such as turmeric, a great choice to add to your curry, or even to splash over your rice. Turmeric contains the anti-inflammatory antioxidant curcumin which is capable of boosting brain power. ,
I heard it through the grapevine...
Dessert can be healthy too. Perhaps for a rather non-traditional yet tasty dessert you could get the kids involved in creating super fruity smoothies containing blueberries. Blueberries hold brain-proactive antioxidants which reduce inflammation, the foundation of virtually all brain degenerative disorders. (See our Smoothie Mix and Go)
Alternatively, use nutritious pumpkin seeds to create pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin seeds are richer in zinc than many other seeds. They supply a valuable mineral which is vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills. Pumpkin seeds are also full of stress-busting magnesium, B vitamins and tryptophan, the precursor to the ‘good mood’ chemical serotonin. ,Whether you’re looking to overhaul your kid’s food intake, or simply add a few of the above brain boosting foods into their diet, you’ll be on the right track with our top tips. With an increase in energy, motivation and thinking skills your little ones will have the ultimate foundation for learning and future achievement.
Tried some of our tips? Join us on Facebook or Twitter and we will share you story.