Back to School: Best Breakfasts for Kids’ Brains
There’s no denying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and really does help kids learn. After sleeping (and not eating) all night, a developing body, and brain, needs a fresh supply of glucose—or blood sugar—which is the brain’s basic fuel. By eating the best breakfast you can, your brain gets a jump start, and that can help boost productivity and focus throughout the day. That means that it is imperative that your family starts off every day with a balanced breakfast, and back-to-school season is a great time to establish a good foundation for the school year.
Easier said than done, I know, but the truth of the matter is that there are ways to not only eat breakfast, but to eat a healthy breakfast whether you’re on-the-go or at home. Knowledge is power, and what’s important is to try and incorporate “brain foods” into your morning meal to get that mental edge.
Blueberries or “Brainberries” as Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls these tasty fruits have been found to help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Studies have also shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both learning capacity and motor skills. Nutrition experts recommend that you eat at least 1 cup of blueberries a day, and that makes this a flexible breakfast ingredient. Fresh, frozen, freeze-dried, in pancakes or by themselves, blueberries should be an essential part of your year.
via Iowa Girl Eats
Eggs make eggs-perts because of the high-quality protein, a nutrient that helps you concentrate by keeping your blood sugar stabilized. Eggs also have Choline, a B vitamin that plays a role in strengthening brain function and memory. Whether you like your eggs scrambled, in an omelet, or hard-boiled, they are a rich source of nutrition to help keep your brain and body charged throughout the morning rush.
Take care of the whole day with a whole grain! Whole grains have a low-GI, which means that they release a steady supply of energy to our brains in the form of glucose. A few quick and easy grain-protein combos to boost your brain power in the morning include toast with almond butter, oatmeal with berries, a toasted English muffin topped with a scrambled egg and slice of turkey bacon or a high-fiber fruit and nut muffin.
Take on any fin you want! Oily fish, especially salmon, has essential fatty acids (EFAs) that our body cannot make and that must be obtained through diet. Experts say good sources of EFAs help brain cells communicate better with each other and help with heart, joint, and general well-being. Try putting some salmon with cottage cheese on top of whole-grain toast for a filling, fiber- and protein-rich meal.
Break out of your shell with some nuts and seeds. They are good sources of vitamin E, and studies show that higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline. They also provide a healthy combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to help maintain your blood sugar levels, which can help you stay focused and energized. Start your day bright with an ounce of raw or roasted walnuts, hazelnuts, etc., or go for an almond-rich muesli or slivered almonds in your yogurt or oatmeal.
No excuses for side-stepping a good breakfast for you or your kids. These options should help you keep it simple to create a breakfast they’ll want to wake up for.
- 10 Easy Ways to Get Your Kids Eating Healthy
- 5 Best Breakfasts to Try This Weekend
- Snack of the Week
- More Family Friendly Recipes
This article was updated August 2015
Image – Flickr/ CC by 2.0
Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.