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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Important Brain Foods for Your Child

By Andrew Loh

Young toddlers and school going children must eat nutritionally rich and well balanced meals and snacks to boost their brain development and assist normal growth of body organs. Here are some of the most famous and well recognized and super charged brain foods for your children:

Brain boosting anti-oxidant rich foods

Vitamins A, C and E are the recognized nutrients that act as highly beneficial and natural anti-oxidants. Natural anti-oxidants are essential for ensuring proper brain development, well organized network of neurons and decrease brain cell degradation due to ageing.

Simple Ideas:
Cut fresh fruits into small pieces and pack them into the lunchbox. Tuck in some slices and pieces of fresh vegetables as well. Dry nuts, beans and legumes are very good sources of natural anti-oxidants and you may develop the habit of consuming these items in your children. Prepare a vegetable and fruit fun role with a little bit of fresh fruit jam to enhance the taste and flavor. Make vegetable enriched pasta soups and sauces to introduce anti-oxidants in your children's diet. Dry nuts like almond, pistachio, hazel nut and cashew nuts can help your child become intelligent and sharp.

Brain boosters like Omega-3 Fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are the most important and critical feed ingredients that can help boost brain and cognitive development in your baby. These fatty acids are found in cold water fishes like salmon and tuna, and in plant materials like avocado, flaxseed oils and nuts like almonds and walnuts. Olive oil is also a rich source of Omega-3 fats.

Simple Ideas:
Avocado is a good and meaningful fruit to start to introduce Omega-3 fat portion in your child's diet. Cut avocado into circular shapes and stuff sweet sauce in between two slices of avocado. Your child will simply love the delicious taste of avocado dipped in sweet sauce! Grilled salmon and tuna dipped in a layer of sweet and sour sauce is yet another bright idea. Sprinkle small portions of flaxseed powder into yogurt-fruit mixed parfait for afternoon much!

Memory power boosters

Whole grains are known to improve memory functions in growing children. Complex and superior wholegrain cereals contain a large amount of Vitamin B that can help enhance memory retention and recall abilities in children. They are also very rich in dietary fibers that provide a continuous supply of energy to allow your child perform better both in and outside the classroom.

Simple Ideas:
Introduce whole wheat bread for morning breakfast by providing two or three slices with fruit jam spread.

Mental alertness through iron

Iron rich foods can help improve mental alertness and enhance energy levels in your children. Iron is also required for supplying fresh flow of oxygen and hemoglobin rich blood; this will allow maximum absorption of fresh oxygen into the body and help reduce fatigue and weakness.

Simple Ideas:
Lean meat, red meat, sea foods, clams, whole wheat, dried cherries, golden raisins and almonds are rich sources of iron. Sprinkle a dash of chipped dry fruits and raisins into the lunchbox. Meat stews made of red and lean meat along with small portions of sea food will help your child develop better memory and cognition.

Water is the liquid of life

Drinking water is a very good habit and it can help retain concentration levels in the classroom. It will also assist in enhancing focus and motivation levels. Hydration will also reduce fatigue and weakness.

Simple Ideas:
Make your child drink water instead of those dangerous sugary sodas and beverages. Add a bit of slice into water; squeeze a slice of lemon, orange or lime into a glass of water and help your child increase energy levels.

Foods that can harm the brain

  1. Beverages, colas, sugary fruit drinks with artificial sweeteners are too rich in sugars and carbon dioxides which may result in a large quantity of sugar in the blood stream. This may impede normal sugar metabolism thus resulting in weakness and lethargy.

  2. Refined white sugar enriched snacks and breads: These are considered heavy foods that also contain extra amounts of sugar. Eating too much of these may result in weakness, lethargy and reduced classroom performance.

  3. Trans-fat and hydrogenated oils: These oils have highly reactive oxidants that can cause premature ageing and sagging physical ability.

  4. Junk and processed ready to eat foods: Every famous, quick, instant, mouth-watering junk food sold in malls and shopping centers are in fact slow poisons for your children. These foods not only cause obesity in children, but also impede brain development accompanied by deflated growth and body functions.

If you work hard and in a coordinated manner, you can create your own recipe and menu plan to include some of the most famous brain food additives and ingredients. If you are in doubt, you can consult your physician or refer to books and magazines that excel in nutrition and meal plans.


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