Children’s brains grow and develop 85% of their full capacity by the time they are 5 years old, according to new advances in neural development. Whether your children are in voluntary preschool, kindergarten, day care centers, or home-schooled, this is an absolutely crucial time for development. One of the best things we can do for our children during this time, aside from active learning interactions, is provide them with healthy snacks that encourage brain growth and development. Here are some kid-friendly brain foods to give your child an extra boost.
- Oatmeal: This is a common meal in many day care centers. Most kids and toddlers love oatmeal, and it’s not hard to see why. Oatmeal is a delicious and nutritious substitution for sugary cereals. It’s full of fiber to curb your kid’s junk food cravings and has plenty of vitamins E, B complex, and zinc to help kids focus. Oatmeal is great because it can be easily paired with any variety of nuts and fruits for an extra nutritional boost.
- Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries are all great sources of vitamin C and antioxidants. Their seeds also contain omega-3 fats that benefit brain function. When selecting berries, keep in mind that a darker, more intense color means more nutritional value.
- Beans: Beans are one of nature’s most powerful superfoods. Aside from being full of fiber, beans are also packed with protein, complex carbs, and omega-3 fatty acids — all essentials for healthy brain growth and development.
- Milk and Dairy: Dairy products generally contain a lot of vitamin B, which aids in brain tissue growth. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are all great sources of vitamin D, protein, and calcium as well. Keep in mind that some yogurts have high amounts of sugar, so be cautious and read labels before making final selections.
Day-to-day nutrition moderation is an important aspect of infant care and child care. Today, approximately 11.3 million children are left to take care of themselves after they get home from school. If enforced at an early age, these smart eating habits can stick with kids and really make a difference in creating a healthy future.