Looking for ways for your kids to get all of their nutrients and vitamins? Read on for some great brain food for kids!
Brain Food for Healthy Kids
From toddlers to teenagers, it can be a struggle to steer kids away from eating junk food and towards foods with more nutrition. To help them eat a diet rich in vitamins, focus on nutrient-rich brain food that will help them play longer, get back-to-school being their best, ace exams and develop brainpower! Whether you are feeding your child baby food or solid food, make sure that what they are eating is a diet designed to maximize healthy eating.
Certain nutrients and vitamins are crucial for brain development, and better brain development means better brain function, cognitive development, memory, and concentration. All of these brain-healthy foods packed with nutrients contribute to better cognitive function and academic performance.
To keep your kids’ performance at optimum levels, we’ve rounded up seven of the best brain foods for kids to eat to help boost their mental power. We talked to Brainly’s parenting expert, Patrick Quinn, for pro parenting tips on how to incorporate healthy snacks into your kids’ daily diet and develop better eating habits that will last little ones through their college years.
Best Breakfast Brain Food for Kids
Help your kids start the day strong with these delicious options!
Full-fat Greek yogurt is calcium-rich and packs a lot more protein than other yogurts. Greek yogurt has less sugar than other types of yogurt and is full of brain-boosting nutrients. Greek yogurt helps keep brain cells in good form for sending and receiving information. It’s also full of protein and B-vitamins, which are essential for the growth of brain tissue, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. Greek yogurt is also a great source of calcium and vitamin D.
Parent tip: Mix in a teaspoon of honey and some cinnamon to turn this healthy option into a delicious one as well.
The versatile egg is a great source of protein. Egg yolks help with memory development because they are packed with choline. Serve eggs in a variety of ways to keep things interesting. Children can enjoy them for breakfast, as a mid-afternoon snack, or even at dinner. Eggs make a great first food for babies. They are also a great choice for the teen brain on exam day.
Parent tip: Eggs are great for making grab-and-go breakfasts kids can eat on the road. Scramble eggs into a whole grain tortilla to make a grab-and-go breakfast burrito. Or, make your own version of an Egg McMuffin at home by putting a fried egg on top of a toasted English muffin and topping it with a slice of low-fat cheese. Bonus tip: Eggs aren’t only a great healthy option that will keep kids full thanks to the protein. They are also a great gateway to cooking for the budding chef. Teach teens how to make scrambled eggs, a fried egg, or a veggie omelet, and you’re fostering a new skill.
Oats are extremely nutritious. They can provide the energy and fuel for the brain that kids need first thing in the morning. Oatmeal is also a fiber-rich food that keeps heart and brain arteries clear. In one study, kids who ate sweetened oatmeal did better on memory-related school tasks than those who ate sugary cereal.
Parent tip: Delicious AND helps with memory at school? Sounds like a superfood for kids! You can endlessly tweak oatmeal to suit the tastes of your individual child. You can dress oatmeal up with applesauce, dried fruit, almonds, and banana. This will make it tastier and more appealing to kids. Due to its natural compounds, adding cinnamon also gives oatmeal an extra ingredient that will help to protect brain cells.
Oatmeal Cups with Greek Yogurt and Fruit
- 1/2 cup bananas mashed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1-1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 cup fresh fruit chopped
Oatmeal Cups with Greek Yogurt and Fruit
- Spray 6 wells of a muffin tin with cooking spray.
- Combine the mashed bananas, honey and almond extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix the rolled oats, cinnamon and salt.
- Combine both bowls together.
- Divide add the combined mixture to 6 wells of your muffin tins.
- Using a spoon, flatten the mixture to the bottom and sides of the tin. Press firmly so it sticks to the sides and bottoms. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove oat bowls from refrigerator. With a spoon, press down again on the cups. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and press down the sides and bottom of the mixture with a spoon. Let cool for 20 minutes.
- Add a scoop of greek yogurt and your favorite fruit to the top.
Best Brain Food Snacks for Kids
These foods will help fuel your kids at snack time.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients that are essential for brain health, including essential fatty acids, protein, zinc, and B-vitamins. They’re also natural mood boosters that are portable and versatile, making them an excellent choice for brain-boosting study snacks.
Parent tip: Kids aren’t always going to love nuts on their own. But, mixing them in a trail mix with a few chocolate pieces or yogurt chips is a great way to get kids munching on this brain-boosting food. Brands like Skinny Dipped make snack time easy and delicious with their chocolate-dipped nuts! Another way to get your kids to eat nuts is by buying or making your own nut butter. To make your own nut butter, roast nuts at 350 degrees, then blend in a food processor. Do not add anything else! For kids who are reluctant to eat nuts, blend hazelnuts with dark chocolate to make a more nutritious
Berries are rich in a variety of compounds that may help promote academic performance and protect brain health. Many berries (including blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries) are especially high in flavonoid compounds called anthocyanins. These are believed to improve mental performance by increasing blood flow to the brain. This healthy snack also protects against inflammation and improves certain signaling pathways that promote nerve cell production and cellular processes involved in learning and memory.
Parent tip: Berries make an easy study snack, but they can cause sticky fingers that can lead to messy keyboards and toys. Try putting several different types of berries on kid-friendly skewers for a fun, healthy, and mess-free desk snack.
Apples and Plums
Kids usually have a craving for sweets. Apples and plums are lunchbox-friendly items that contain quercetin, an antioxidant that helps fight the decline in mental skills. Little ones can eat an apple puree (also known as apple sauce!). Adolescents can eat apples and plums as a healthy fast food.
Parent tip: These are some of the few snacks that are safe to give kids free rein to eat as much as they like. They are great because kids can grab one when they get home from school while doing homework or anytime they want a quick bite. They also pack well. For a heartier snack, you can also cut apples into chunky slices and spread them with almond or peanut butter. Freeze pitted plums and add them to a nutrient-rich fruit smoothie.
Best Dinner Brain Food: Fish
Fish is an excellent source of Vitamin D and the Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, are both essential for brain growth and function. Consuming more Omega-3s means kids will have sharper minds and better mental skills. Starting young can help with baby brain development.
Parent tip: Fish can be a tricky one with kids, especially oily fish or fatty fish. Get kids accustomed to eating fish when they’re young. This way, they’ll be more likely to be open to new fish dishes when they’re pre-teens and teenagers to maintain a healthy brain. You can make fish tasty for kids by serving it simply grilled, like fish sticks, or including it in tacos or tuna sandwiches. Start with small pieces. Another option is using canned salmon to make delicious salmon salad sandwiches mixed with reduced-fat mayo or non-fat Greek yogurt, raisins, chopped celery, and carrots.
The Best Brain Food for Kids
There are so many delicious ways for kids (and adults) to fuel their brains! Be sure to share your favorites with friends and family on FamilyApp!