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Brain Boosting Foods for Kids

Nutrition for your children has a direct effect on IQ, learning, concentration, sleep, and behavior. Just as athletes eat a diet to win, children can eat to learn. Foods that contain antioxidants, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates are all particularly helpful in boosting brain power.

Here are some of my food tips to give your children a brain-power boost and some of my favorite recipes!


Brain Boosting Foods for Kids: Blueberries

Blueberries have the highest concentration of antioxidants compared to any other fruits or vegetables. Blueberries contain powerful anthocyanins which the Tufts University has connected with improved short term memory performance and attention to tasks. A study showed superior memory test results for kids consuming blueberries compared to children that are not consuming berries.

The benefits of regular berry consumption also extend to adults with berry consumption being linked to decreasing the aging process potentially preventing dementia. These are a great sweet treat that kids either love or with a little effort will learn to love.

The benefits of blueberries can be enjoyed year round with frozen blueberries, which tend to be cheaper and do not lose their potency.

Check out these blueberry KidzShake recipes:

Pineapple Blueberry Smoothie Bowl

INGREDIENTS

serves 1

  • (double for teenager serving)
  • 3/4 cup of frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 2 scoops of Vanilla or Strawberry KidzShake OR 1 scoop KidzShake PLUS vanilla or strawberry
  • 1/4 cup of milk of choice

DIRECTIONS

  • Add frozen pineapple and blueberries to the blender and blend on low speed until fruit is cut into very small chunks (about the size of a grain of rice).
  • Add KidzShake powder and milk and continue to blend until nice and smooth.
  • Scoop into a bowl, add top with Blueberries, chia seeds and almonds.

Purple Power Shake

INGREDIENTS

Serves 1-2

  • 4 scoops of Strawberry or vanilla KidzShake OR 2 scoops KidzShake PLUS strawberry or vanilla
  • ½ cup of blueberries or blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • ½ medium banana
  • 1 cup of chilled water or milk of choice

DIRECTIONS

  • Blend on high for 30-60 seconds.

Brain Boosting Foods for Kids: Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a good source of omega-3. They are also high in antioxidants and minerals and vitamins- perfect support for brain health. Nuts also are a good source of vitamin E, which protects brain cell membranes from free radical damage. Walnuts are particularly beneficial for brain health with very high concentrations of DHA, a type of omega 3 acid which has been shown to improve cognitive performance. Just ¼ cup of walnuts delivers 100% of the recommended daily intake of DHA.Cashews and sunflower seeds contain amino acids that helps boost serotonin levels and relieve stress.

Try this yummy Walnut recipe:

Walnut + Date KidzShake Energy Bars

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup of roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pure almond extract
  • 3 scoops of Vanilla Cream KidzShake

DIRECTIONS

  • Place oats into food processor or blender and pulverise.
  • Add other ingredients and and pulse until combined.
  • Divide into 8 portions and roll into balls.

Brain Boosting Foods for Kids: Avocados

Besides being my favorite food, avocados are one of the best foods you can give your child to improve their overall health. Packed with good monounsaturated fats, avocados can aid in keeping blood sugar levels steady and can help improve both memory and cognitive function. The creaminess of avocados make them the perfect smoothie add in. My kids love to eat avocado in guacamole and as a topping for healthy toast.

Check out this creamy avocado shake recipe. Your kids will have no idea that the super creaminess comes from avocado.

Super Nutrient Chocolate Milk

INGREDIENTS

Serves 1-2
4 scoops of chocolate KidzShake OR 2 scoops KidzShake PLUS Chocolate
1/4 avocado
1 tablespoon of almond butter
1 cup of chilled water or milk of choice

DIRECTIONS

Blend on high for 60 seconds to make really frothy

Serve immediately


Brain Boosting Foods for Kids: Beets

The thought of feeding your kids beets may seem scary, but with such amazing health benefits it’s worth the try. Just don’t feed them beets in white clothes! Beet contain vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, manganese, folate, soluble fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and antioxidants. These nutrient powerhouses have many benefits such as boosting natural energy levels, preventing inflammation and increasing blood flow to the brain which helps with mental performance.

Here are 2 great kid approved beet recipes.

Beet Bounty Balls

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups of shredded coconut
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste.
  • 4 scoops of vanilla cream KidzShake OR 2 scoops KidzShake PLUS vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon of raw beetroot

DIRECTIONS

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined.
  • Roll into balls, extra coconut for dusting is optional. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Beet Brain Booster Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of water or milk of choice
  • 4 scoops of Vanilla Cream or Strawberry Cream KidzShake OR 2 scoops of KidzShake PLUS vanilla or strawberry
  • 1/4 raw beet
  • 1/2 raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)

DIRECTIONS

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

This is a great way to boost brain power before school.


Dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables

Spinach and leafy greens like kale, chard, romaine and collards, are rich in folate, iron, B vitamins, and magnesium. All of these nutrients are essential to increasing your brain power. They also contain carotenoids which are powerful brain protectors.

While getting your children to eat lots of greens may often seem incredibly difficult, there are some simple ways to do it. My kids’ favorite is including some greens into a smoothie or shake. Here’s a great smoothie recipe they will love:

Green Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

serves 2

  • 4 scoops of vanilla KidzShake OR 1 scoop KidzShake PLUS vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of mango
  • 1/2 cup of banana
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted macadamia nuts (can substitute with cashews)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup of ice

 

DIRECTIONS

  • Blend on high until smooth

 

PRO TIP

school mornings are crazy, so I like to do our green smoothie prep ahead of time.  Simply layer all the fresh ingredients a mason jar, put on the lid and freeze.  Take the jar out 15 minutes before you want to make your shake to slightly thaw.  Place ingredients in the blender with your kidzshake powder and liquid.  Healthy food can be fast too.


Brain Boosting Foods for Kids: Oats

Oats are complex carbohydrates which provide fuel that the brain needs. This is opposed to simple sugars (pop drinks, candy, etc.) that create blood sugar highs and lows which are not good for concentration and sustained energy. Complex carbohydrates have fiber and provide a slower, steadier release of energy to your child. The complex carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which the brain needs to function. This slow release helps stabilize blood sugars and maintain concentration and attention. Oats are also full of B vitamins and folate which have a strong link to increased memory function.

Here is 2 amazing breakfast or snack recipes that feature oats:

Super Nutrition Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of oats
1 banana
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon of baking powder
4 scoops of vanilla kidzshake OR 2 scoops KidzShake PLUS vanilla

DIRECTIONS

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on medium speed until combined. Cook on a hot griddle and enjoy

Creamy Raspberry Breakfast Shake

INGREDIENTS

Serves 1-2 for breakfast.

  • 4 scoops of Strawberry KidzShake OR 2 scoops KidzShake PLUS strawberry
  • ½ cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 avocado (optional)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • 5 cubes of ice
  • 1 cup water or milk of choice

DIRECTIONS

  • Blend on high for 30-60 seconds

Brain Boosting Foods for Kids: Water/Hydration

Not drinking enough water has detrimental effects on our brains. When your body lacks water, brain cells and other neurons shrink and biochemical processes involved in cellular communication can slow. Water is great for memory sharpness and to help keep moods stable. Dehydration makes children listless, lethargic, and irritable. So get them to drink plenty of water and snack on high water-content foods like cucumber, watermelon, carrots, celery and tomatoes.  Read more about the importance of your kid’s hydration here!


Just as a side note:
Exercise is such an important part of keeping our bodies healthy and this includes our brain! Exercise keeps our brains sharp and improving cognitive functioning. Aerobic exercise improves task performance and increases the ability to process information more quickly.


dr rach, kidz shake, pediatrician, healthy kids challenge

Dr. Rach is an advocate for children’s health and nutrition. She’s a mother of four girls and the creator of Kidz Shake.

Read more about Kidz Shake and why we love it!

 

 

 

 


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http://enews.tufts.edu/stories/101399BlueberriesMayImproveMemory.htm

Ros E. Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Nutrients. 2010;2(7):652-682. doi:10.3390/nu2070652.

http://www.comprehensivephysiology.com/WileyCDA/CompPhysArticle/refId-c110063.html

Fernando Gomez‐Pinilla, Charles Hillman. The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities. Compr Physiol 2013, 3: 403-428. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c110063