The human brain – especially a growing one – needs plenty of energy. These foods boost brain power.

Food doesn’t only fuel your body – it keeps your brain going too. When your grey matter doesn’t get the essential nutrients it needs, it can’t spark the way it should. With a new school year ahead, kids need to get back into the routine of homework and studying for exams. An easy way to help them is to ensure they’re eating foods that boost brain function, improve concentration and enhance memory. Stock up on these super foods to fuel their brains…

As one of the most nutritious foods around, eggs are incredibly versatile too. They’re perfect for breakfast as they’re a great source of protein, which helps to keep your children feeling fuller for longer. They’re also rich in vitamins A and D. The yolk contains most of the good stuff, so make sure your kids eat the whole egg. Scrambled, boiled, fried – any way they like them will do. But if you’re in the mood to jazz things up, try making a frittata, which can also make a great supper.

Oats are another great breakfast option as they contain fibre which helps to keep your children feeling fuller for longer. The potassium, zinc and vitamins B and E in oats are essential for brain function. Unlike sugary breakfast cereals, oats provide a steady release of energy and won’t cause a spike in your child’s blood sugar. Large-flake rolled oats are best. Add a little ground cinnamon or nuts and seeds for a flavour upgrade.

Popeye really was onto something. Spinach is a good source of iron, which your body needs to produce enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Kids who don’t get enough iron from their diet can feel tired and even weak. And yes, you’ve guessed it – they battle to concentrate. Spinach packs a double punch as it’s also a good source of magnesium, a mineral essential for electrolyte balance in the body – a lack of it causes ‘brain fog’. If your kids don’t like cooked spinach, try sneaking it into omelettes and lasagne, or adding it to smoothies.

This fruit is rich in magnesium, which aids sleep and relaxation – both of which are vital for focus and concentration. A well-rested, calm child can concentrate better than one who’s tired. Use bananas in smoothies (cut into chunks and freeze overnight if you like) or top yoghurt with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey.

When it comes to fatty acids, omega-3 is the one you don’t want to get too little of. Fatty acids are vital for memory, focus, concentration and mood. The crucial ones – EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish, and sardines are a great source. So are salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna, of course, but sardines are more affordable. Aim to give your kids two servings of fatty fish a week. Make fishcakes with sardines or use as a topping on homemade pizza. Canned tuna is lower in omega-3 fatty acids than the fresh kind – most studies show the canned version has a third less omega-3s – but fresh is also more expensive. So, if your child likes tuna sandwiches, make it a lunchbox staple as they’ll still be getting the good stuff.

Full-cream Greek yoghurt doesn’t only have healthy fat, it contains more protein than other yoghurts. Serve it for breakfast with fruit, muesli or nuts – or all three, and a drizzle of honey.

These filling pulses provide carbohydrates, protein and fibre. They’re inexpensive too so they’re an economical way to boost your child’s health and brain power. Add beans to soups and salads, or lentils to mince dishes. Pack hummus (chickpea spread) with carrot sticks as a fun and easy lunchbox snack.

These pack a nutritional power punch as they contain protein and essential fatty acids, as well as being rich in many vitamins and minerals. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews all make a great snack. And, of course, there’s always peanut butter, which most kids love. Grind sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and flax seeds (a coffee grinder works well) for a great breakfast mix that can be sprinkled over yoghurt or porridge.

The brain is about 60% fat, so essential fatty acids are a vital building block to keep the brain functioning at optimum level.

8 FOODS THAT HELP KIDS FOCUS AT SCHOOL 8 FOODS THAT HELP KIDS FOCUS AT SCHOOL Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on February 05, 2021 Rating: 5
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