I was talking to some moms at my grandson’s basketball game today, they were all complaining that their young teens would forget their heads if they weren’t attached. The moms were all wondering why the kids can’t remember to hand in their homework, do their chores, or for that matter remember what they were told to do just 5 minutes ago.
Yes, part of it can be the age of the kids, after all life for tweens and teens can be overwhelming with teachers and parents pulling them in all directions. There is SO MUCH to remember!!
One thing for sure is to make sure your kids are getting enough sleep. These kids need up to 10 hours of sleep a night to be totally rested. Yes, I know, what kid that age wants to go to bed at 8 or 9 pm, right??
Let’s look at nutrition!
If you send your child off to school with a sweet roll, a piece of toast or a bowl of sugary cereal they will get “mind fog”. I know breakfast is a crazy time of the day with everyone getting ready at once but, if you want your child to succeed, you might want to think about what they put in their mouths.
So? What are “brain foods”? Start the day giving your child an egg. Eggs are packed with choline, which helps memory development plus a great source of protein. Make a breakfast burrito, an egg sandwich or hard boiled eggs for an on the go meal. Or have eggs for supper a couple times a week.
Peanut butter is also a great brain food. It’s a good source of vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant that protects nervous membranes. Send them off to school with a piece of peanut butter toast and a banana.
Have some Greek yogurt on hand with fresh berries. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and even cherries are full of antioxidants, and vitamin C. If your child doesn’t like yogurt, try putting berries on oat cereal or oatmeal. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber and vitamin E, B vitamins, potassium and zinc which makes our bodies and brains function to the highest level.
Then there are vegetables. I’m sure kids are the first to turn down veggies, but, if you can get them to eat things like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and spinach you have won a battle!! You can get the little cherry tomatoes, sweet potato fries, pumpkin muffins, baby carrots or make a spinach salad.
Don’t forget the MILK! Dairy foods are packed with protein and B vitamins which are necessary for the growth of brain tissue. Milk and yogurt are energy for the brain.
We must not forget that children need lean beef. Not just for the protein it gives but also beef is a great source of iron. Iron is an essential mineral that helps kids stay energized and concentrate at school. Beef also contains zinc, which helps with memory.
If beef isn’t your thing, black beans or soy burgers are good choices. Both are full of iron. Kidney and pinto beans are also a great brain food because these beans contain more omega 3 fatty acids than other beans.
Which brings me to the last important brain food…..FISH. Salmon is the best fish because it’s rich in omega 3s and vitamin D. Tuna and sardines are also high in omega 3s. Omega 3s help kids to function and focus.
Although this sounds like a lot of information, it’s pretty basic.
Breakfast can be eggs and toast or oatmeal and berries. Lunch, salmon patties and a spinach salad with tomatoes, cheese and sliced eggs. Or a tuna sandwich with spinach leaves and slices of tomatoes. After school snack, string cheese or yogurt with berries. Supper, beef, sweet potato fries, black bean salad. And DON’T forget to serve an 8 ounce glass of low fat milk with each meal!!
I hope this gives you a little insight and I can’t wait to hear back from you moms!!
Take care and happy eating!!