Little girl colouring in

Growing Pains and Impressionable Brains

8 foods that will help your kids become super smart, get a good job and probably pay for your retirement.

Kia ora team!

Welcome to our first Eat a Rainbow blog post.

As you are probably aware, here at Eat a Rainbow, we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously. Our blog is no exception.

We are here to help you navigate your kids nutrition needs like a boss. We will share fun facts, tips and tricks, stories about all things food, while poking a bit of fun at ourselves along the way.

In saying that, we are all about making sure all of our sources of information are 100% legit and backed up by credible/proven scientific studies. So, if you’re expecting an endorsement for the latest fad “news feed” diet for kids, or silver bullet solution to making your kid healthy, you’re outta luck.  All you’ll get here is the cold hard facts.

So let’s crack into it with our first blog that is all about BRAIN FOODS (specifically for kids).

It’s probably no secret that the number one way to help your kids cognitive abilities develop is by encouraging them to USE IT.

But aside from actually using their brain, a good diet can go a long way in supplementing positive brain development. We’ve comprised a list of 8 foods that are easy for kids to eat and will help them become the next Ernest Rutherford. Maybe..

Firstly, NO, it’s not ok to skip breakfast. It’s called breakfast because you are doing just that… breaking a fast from not eating overnight. Genius.

 

Oats in a bowl

1) Oats

Yep oats are totes appropes. Good ol’ fashioned porridge is the best way to start the day. It’s natural high-fiber content helps get that urge to purge, and a low-glycemic index means it slowly releases glucose into the bloodstream, helping fuel concentration over a long period of time. 
Tip – whether you make it with milk or water doesn’t matter, just try and avoid piling on the sugar… and yes brown is just the same as white.

2) Berries

Berries have a truck load of antioxidants in them which are…..whoa whoa hold the phone! What is an antioxidant anyway? I hear this “buzz” word all the time. So what is it? Well basically some of the foods we eat actually damage our body because they contain “free radicals”. Geez stop it with all the jargon already. I know. Sorry. Put simply “free radicals” are naturally occuring badasses that can attach to and damage cells in the body. Antioxidants help delay the damage free radicals cause. Not only that, but these little beauties also aid in developing better memories and cognitive functioning. But seriously, just buy frozen ones. They are often cheaper than fresh, have the same nutritional content, and in a smoothie or sprinkled on oats taste great. You might be surprised at how long a $5 bag lasts in the freezer.

3) Egg

Eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, lutein, and choline, and vitamin B which all support memory formation and concentration. Eggs are super versatile and often part of our “throw together dinner” for our daughter. As the old saying goes, an egg in the house is a meal in the house.

4) Yoghurt

Natural Greek yogurt.. Yep.. the boring type, helps keep brain cell membranes flexible, which is vital for the processes of sending messages and receiving information. It has calcium, vitamins and fatty acids that support brain-cell growth and functioning, while the live cultures support gut health, helping boost your toddlers immune system. Save it for dessert in place of icecream or put a pottle in their lunchbox. Opt for the full fat over the ‘lite’ varieties – often the sugar content is less. Freezing yoghurt the night before is a great way to keep it cold in the lunchbox too.

Little girl painting

5) Kumara

The almighty sweet potato. Often thought of as more ‘nutritious’ than its brother the potato. Kumara are packed with beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as iron and copper, which all aid in brain function. Keep the skins on if you can – all that colour = nutrients. When we peel the purple or orange skin off we lose most of the goodness. Try a half potato half kumara mash or simply give a quick scrub and throw some kumara chips in the oven for 20 minutes.

6) Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are exceptionally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are literally what the human brain is made of—over 50 percent of the brain is fat, and most of that fat is omega-3 DHA, a special kind of fat found only in fish and shellfish. Fish by itself is often quite a strong flavour for kids, so a fish pie is the perfect way to get it into them. Mix salmon or tuna with some mash and bake it in the oven for an easy rosti.

Fresh salmon with vegetables

7) Spinach & other leafy green veg

Leafy greens that have rich, deep-green colors (e.g spinach) are excellent sources of antioxidants and vitamins like folate, which help brain cells grow. They are also full of nutrients like vitamin K (helps with clotting when they graze their knees) and beta-carotene which are linked to better brain function and sight. It’s unlikely your kiddies will start chowing down on leafy greens anytime soon so chop it up and stir through a mince mixture or add it to any saucey meal you normally make. The frozen pre-chopped portions are a life saver in the freezer and an easy way to boost colour in your meals.

8) Red meat & chicken

Red meats and chicken contain protein, zinc, iron, and fat. Keep in mind that we have two different kinds of vitamins – water soluble and fat soluble. Some fat in the diet is essential for absorbing nutrients and a developing brain needs more fat than an adult one. Your children also need seven times more iron than their dads. Young kids are probably not likely to start chomping into a steak so, rissoles, mince or slow-cooked small chunks are sometimes more successful ways to serve red meat.

Kid rainbow face paint

So there you have it folks. If you can’t get any of these brain foods into them don’t sweat it. There are plenty of other foods out there that supplement brain development and cognitive function. The most important thing is that they start the day with a full belly ready for a day of exploring and you give it a go. You don’t know if you don’t try.

Nikki-and-Hemi

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