All parents know it is important to feed their children breakfast and lunch so they can do their very best at school. Growling stomachs can interrupt learning! But it is important to note that it's not just important to feed children, but to be intentional about choosing foods that will help them learn, focus, and concentrate. Foods full of sugar and unhealthy fats can cause children to swing between hyper and sluggish.
If academics are a priority for your family, choose some of the top 10 brain foods that help kids thrive in school.
Breakfast is branded as the most important meal of the day, but sugary cereal or pastries do little to fuel the mind or body. Try to incorporate some of these ideas into your child’s breakfast routine. Many are simple foods that can easily be taken on the go too.
- Blueberries are one of the smallest foods with the highest antioxidant levels which really helps boost memory. They taste great by themselves or on top of oatmeal or a low-sugar, whole grain cereal for a healthy breakfast.
- Greek yogurt is high in protein which creates amino acids needed to keep the brain alert and ready to learn. Check labels for a low sugar variety.
- Bananas are high in magnesium which leads to great concentration and focus. Best of all, they come in their own wrapper, ready to grab and go.
- Eggs are back on the good-for-you list with concerns about cholesterol put to rest by recent research. The protein found in these is great for brain performance.
- Whole grains not only keep the belly full for longer in the day, but they promote blood circulation which keeps the brain working at full capacity.
- Nuts are filled with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and proteins that boost memory and brain function. According to Health.com, peanuts are high in folate, which is a good choice for brain development. Almonds, cashews, and walnuts are good options too. Grab a handful of raw or spread some nut butter on whole grain toast or bread for a smart meal.
For students, lunch is just as important as breakfast. After a morning full of learning, the body must be refueled to optimize afternoon scholastics. Many of the breakfast ideas above can be used for lunch too. Some brain foods to add to your afternoon include:
- Leafy greens. Salad is always a great choice, especially if you include some romaine, spinach, or kale. If you can't get your kids to touch a salad, consider kale chips.
- Avocados. They offer good fats and folate, both of which help the brain to function. Avocados are also versatile. Slice them on a sandwich, chunk them up in a salad, or make some healthy guacamole and include some veggies or baked chips for dipping
- Seafood. Salmon is often referred to as the best seafood, but it isn't the easiest lunch option. Luckily, there are other options high in omega-3's which are responsible for focus and attention. Shrimp or tuna salad are more portable options.
- Dark chocolate. Everyone likes a little sweet treat during the day, and a piece of dark chocolate is just what the doctor ordered. A small piece offers antioxidants for brain health and a little caffeine for an endorphin boost.
Brain development is so important in children. Parents can make food choices that will enhance and encourage memory, focus, and learning. Try incorporating some of these foods regularly to help your child do his or her best.
Greater Atlanta Christian School parents love the ease and abundant healthy and fresh food options our dining service provides students with daily. GAC dining is just one of the ways we partner with families to make life easier. Visit us to learn more about the various aspects of campus life and how we can accommodate your family through our convenient transportation options and extensive on-campus co-curriculars.