SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With the school year back in session, parents should feed their kids the best brain foods to help them sustain their energy and help them succeed at school, while also creating healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
According to Phil Lempert aka the SupermarketGuru and editor of The Lempert Report and SupermarketGuru.com, eating nutrient-dense meals, and snacks, and staying hydrated at regular intervals and avoiding processed, sugary foods can boost brain development, improve concentration, and provide a child's energy to make it through a school day. It is also important to always send your child to school with a balanced healthy snack, even if all other meals are provided.
"The new school year is a time to start fresh, encourage healthy eating habits and set a great example as a parent," says Lempert. "It is important for growing children to eat a variety of foods from each food group. A well-nourished and fit child is better able to learn and has more energy, stamina, and self-esteem."
According to Lempert, the best brain foods include:
- Eggs: Eggs are rich in choline (a vitamin-like substance that is plentiful in eggs, but also found in nuts) which helps promotes memory and brain development. Also, eggs provide long-lasting satiety because of its protein package. Whether hard-boiled, scrambled or sunny side up, eggs are a great food or even snack for kids;
- Whole Grains: Whole grains in general contain phytonutrients, folate and B vitamins that boost memory. Whole grains are great for kids – most notably oats and eating oats in a not so sweet granola is a great way to get kids to eat more whole grains. The addition of some dried fruit and nuts balances out the meal or snack. Pack sandwiches with whole wheat bread. If your kids are not used to it, make as sandwich with half white, half whole wheat bread;
- Lean and Clean Protein: Protein is great to pair with whole grains and can help kids feel full longer, avoiding a sharp drop in blood sugar. Choosing protein sources that are raised humanely and fed a proper diet, or pastured are your best bets. Ask your local butcher about how the meat was raised;
- Berries, Grapes, Apples, Pears and other Seasonal Fruits: Rich in antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber. The fiber in fruit also helps keep kids regular, yes it's not just a grown-up problem;
- Healthy Fats: Healthy fats help "cushion" the brain; in fact 60 percent of a brain is made up of fat. Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for the brain and eyes (deficiency can lead to anxiety and depression). Avocados are another great fat, as well as flax and chia seeds (which are full of fiber as well); and
- Filtered Water: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, fogginess, and more, so drinking plenty of water is crucial to keeping concentration and energy levels high. Parents would be surprised how little water kids drink at school. After learning and running around all day most kids could use a couple glasses of water. Buy a reusable water bottle in the color or pattern that your kids like - or let them pick it out. If they choose it, they are more likely to use it!
About Philip Lempert
Known as the Supermarket Guru®, Phil Lempert publishes the trends publication The Lempert Report and Food Nutrition & Science. He is the author of several books and founded www.SupermarketGuru.com in 1994 that is a leading online resource providing consumers with food safety, products, trends and shopping tips. With more than six million visitors annually, consumers have access to breaking food industry news, health and nutrition tips and other food-related information. For more information, please visit www.SupermarketGuru.com.