Snacks for the Brainiac

By Jessica Franklin

The school year is halfway over, and our children might be starting to feel the pressure that often accompanies the acquisition of new skills and information. We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While that may not be a particularly scientific analysis, science does suggest that frequently snacking on apples can help with brain development and learning! Their richness in antioxidants protects brain cells from damaging free radicals, and they offer a healthy alternative to candy when the sweet tooth ares up.

Apples are far from the only superfood that we should be including in our little learners’ diets. Start them off strong in the morning with eggs for breakfast. They are the purest form of edible protein, which will help children maintain focus and concentration in school. Another option, if a hot breakfast doesn’t quite fit in your family’s schedule, is to hard-boil a carton of eggs on Sunday night and eat them on-the-go throughout the week. Deviled eggs or egg salad sandwiches make great lunches as well! Another quick and easy breakfast that supports brain development is oatmeal. Studies suggest that it helps improve mood and memory retention. For an added benefit, mix some cinnamon or antioxidant-rich berries in with it!

Greens, especially kale, are well known for their nutritional value, but getting kids to actually consume them is a challenge all its own. An easy way to sneak them into your picky eater’s diet is to use them in a smoothie! Mix a handful of fresh leafy greens, such as kale or spinach, with some full fat Greek yogurt, ice, water and a handful of frozen organic berries for the ultimate brain snack.

Wrap the day up with a healthy dose of vitamin D and omega-3’s by serving up some fish for dinner! These essential nutrients help protect against memory loss and support focus. To incorporate the healthy fats that are so important to brain development, throw in a green salad with some avocado, some nuts or seeds, some olive oil- based dressing, and whatever other salad toppings you enjoy.

We can all benefit from learning to include these superfoods into our diets. From toddlers who need all the support they can get during their developmental leaps, to their exhausted parents who need help staying focused on everyday tasks, to their grandparents who need help fighting the memory loss that often accompanies aging, the benefits of a healthy diet can be observed over the course of an entire lifetime.

Super Foods

Nuts and nut butters: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews

Seeds: flax seeds, chia seeds

Berries: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries

Good Fats: avocado, olive oil, coconut oil Protein: non-fat Greek yogurt,
cheese sticks