The Fattest Organ
Did you know the brain is your fattiest organ? And while carbohydrates are one of the main sources of energy, the brain needs healthy fats. But this doesn’t mean you should give your child a stick of butter on toast day, but make sure they have a balanced diet that includes healthy fats.
Here are some suggestions for fat sources and other foods to help maintain focus and energy while learning:
Salmon is high in omega 3’s and great for brain cognition and function.
It’s not always easy to get kids to eat fish, but you can use canned salmon the way you would use tuna in a salad or sandwich. You can also use canned salmon to make burgers. One of my favorite ways to get nonfish eaters to eat salmon is smoked salmon. You can wrap it around a celery stick or add it to half a bagel for a good morning start. While tuna isn’t as high in Omega 3’s as salmon, it’s a good second choice. Add chopped cucumber and/or celery to give it a little nutrition boost. Stuff a celery stalk for a snack or let kids dip veggies in tuna salad.
Nuts and seeds are a great choice because they not only contain healthy fats but protein. Almonds and walnuts are great choices.
Eggs also provide protein and fat and are an easy way to get those nutrients into your children. A scrambled egg sandwich or breakfast burrito is a healthy start to the day. Depending on what your children like, hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs, and egg salad are also simple ways to add fat and protein to help keep focus and attention.
Full-fat Greek yogurt is another healthy way to include fat and protein. If it isn’t palatable for your children, add a drizzle of honey. You can also add a spoonful of granola and berries to make it a parfait treat.
Fruits and Veggies to Consider
Apples and berries provide healthy sugar and antioxidants. Slice up apples and let your kids dip them in nut butter to add that healthy fat. You can also treat them to an apple with a cheese stick to achieve the same goal.
Green veggies such as spinach and kale provide folate and antioxidants critical for brain function. You can make easy kale chips or add spinach to smoothies or soups to make sure your children are getting these critical nutrients!
Bonnie Pace, MS
Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist
Want to meet Bonnie? She is available on Wednesdays and Sundays. Book a mini-consult if you would like to see if it could work for you!