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Foods for Cognitive Health Support in Children

Posted by itsupportgroup
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on Monday, 05 October 2015 in School Nutrition Blog

mom and child eatingAs a parent, it’s important to make sure your child is able to learn and to have enough energy throughout the school day to do so. But did you know food health is just as important as getting good grades? In fact, healthy eating plays bigger role in a child’s mental development than you think. The food your child consumes on a daily basis will affect their cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities have more to do with the way in which we learn, remember, solve problems, and even pay attention as opposed to just actual knowledge. So what can you do as a parent to make sure your child is well equipped to get those good grades? Make sure their diet contains the following throughout the day:  

 

Begin the day with a healthy breakfast!

The brain’s engine can only work when there is fuel for it to run. That fuel comes from the food we eat. The energy that comes from our first meal of the day is the key that turns the engine on, so that is why breakfast is so important!

 

Oatmeal with fruit and cinnamon

Oatmeal contains whole grain carbs that provide energy to the brain, and protein and fiber to make you feel full for a longer time and keep distracting hunger pangs away. Fruit such as berries, are filled with sweet flavor and essential vitamins and minerals. Cinnamon is a great flavor addition and also loaded with powerful antioxidants, which help protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

 

Fresh fruit

Fruit such as apples, bananas, pears, plums, oranges, etc. are great alternatives to packaged foods that may be high in sugar, leading to an energy “slump” after eating. These sweet, natural snacks provide steady energy from naturally occurring sugar, along with fiber and countless vitamins and minerals.

 

Iron-containing foods

Iron helps oxygen travel through the bloodstream, which provides energy to all of the cells in the body and keeps us alert. Lean beef contains iron that is the easiest to absorb in the body. For vegetarians, black beans are a great source of iron along with spinach, and soy. Iron coming from plant-based sources, are not as easily absorbed therefore, a greater amount needs to be consumed in order to get enough of the important mineral.

 

To increase absorption of vegetarian-based iron, include a source of vitamin C with your meal.

 

The more you know the better you can help your child form healthy eating habits. For more information on food health, follow our blogs on www.whitsons.com. “Like Us” on Facebook and “Tweet Us” on Twitter @Whitsons.

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog should not be construed as the opinion of Whitsons Culinary Group. Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice.

 

Contributors: Laura Binder, MS, RD, Jessica Z. Diaz 

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