Back To School: 10 Lunch Essentials That Support Brain Development

It’s back to school time and amidst all the hustle and bustle remember one very important factor in your child’s performance – nutrition! Arm them with the nutrients they need to succeed. Most foods marketed to young children are absolutely the worst things for them. Breakfast cereals packed with sugar and processed ingredients, juices with random coloring, chips sprinkled with vibrant “cheese product”. There is little to no nutritional value in these items. Think about the affects these foods have on your child’s brain over an extended period of time.

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Let’s help our kids in school and get them back to basics. Here is a list of items you can grab on your next grocery run that have been proven to support better brain function.

Water (instead of juice)

Drinking water and brain function are integrally linked. Lack of water to the brain can cause numerous symptoms including problems with focus, memory, brain fatigue and brain fog, as well as headaches, sleep issues, anger, depression, and many more. The brain is one of the most important organs in your body to keep fueled. It is approximately 85 percent water and brain function depends on having abundant access to water. Water gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes.

Whole Grains

Our brains need energy to function just like any other organ in our bodies. Whole grains are carbohydrates which break down to glucose. Unfortunately, not all glucose is created equal. Some sugars have a high glycemic index which means the energy releases into your body at a rapid rate, shocking your blood stream and supplying you with a high amount of energy and then causing you to crash once it has worn off. Whole Grains have a low glycemic index. The energy they supply is slowly released providing you with a steady stream of energy. When grabbing your breakfast cereals, keep this in mind. Make sure the cereal is made with whole grains and also go the extra distance and make sure there is little to no added sugar. Better yet, just grab the plain whole rolled oats oatmeal.

Eggs

Egg consumption is known to improve concentration in children as they are extremely nutritious, having an abundance of brain-boosting proteins, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. They can also be served in a number of ways, either by itself or as a topping for sandwiches.

Kale

Deep green-colored fruits and veggies are among the best foods you can give to your kids. However, kale stands out as a super brain food for kids. Its abundance of folate and vitamins enhances the development of the brain and protects it from damage as they age. It also contains a powerful detoxifying agent, and assists with the growth of new brain cells.

Apple

It’s no wonder apples are every kid’s favorite. They’re a sweet and refreshing snack that does wonder’s for dietary function. However, the apple assists in brain development as well. It’s main brain-helping ingredient is quercitin, a chemical found mostly in the skin of apples. This compound is seen to have a direct effect on the prevention of cognitive decline in both short and long terms.

Blueberries

Many studies have linked blueberries to improving or delaying short term memory loss. Blueberries are also rich in antioxidants, which work to neutralize free radicals linked to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other age-related conditions.

Tomatoes

There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.

Broccoli 

This vegetable is a great snack and is super rich in  vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.

Avocado

This is not only delish on our tortillas and salads, but it also helps with cognitive function.

Walnuts and other nuts

Walnuts improve working memory, problem-solving and motor function. Nuts are loaded with proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals are known to develop and maintain superior brain functions. Some nuts are rich in Vitamin E, selenium, and folate, 3 of the most brain-friendly compounds known to man.

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