New shoes, new socks, labelling clothing - this is what we usually think about when our children go back to school.
However, the right nutrition can play a major role in how well they absorb and retain information, so let's take a look at our brain-boosting foods for kids.
Wholegrains are an excellent source of fibre and keep kids feeling fuller and more energised for longer.
They help to regulate the release of glucose into the blood, preventing any spikes in blood sugar levels that inevitably result in crashes in energy and concentration.
Wholegrains are also great sources of nutrients including vitamin E and B, potassium, and zinc, all of which help children's brains work at full capacity.
And the good news is that it's easy to pop some into their diet. Why not try:
- Wholegrain sandwiches or pitta pockets.
- Brown rice salads.
- Warm porridge oats for breakfast.
Dark leafy greens and vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are rich in antioxidants, which protect our body and brain against damage from free radicals.
Vegetables that contain a deep colour tend to have a high content of anti-oxidants, which promote a healthy brain. For example:
- And spinach.
Anti-oxidants also help to counter neurodegenerative effects caused by free radicals in the body. It's not always easy to get kids to eat their greens so give these sneaky methods a go:
- A wheatgrass smoothie - the equivalent of three heads of broccoli.
- Roast the vegetables with a tasty sauce.
- Kale crisps (a firm favourite in our house).
- Stir veg into noodles.
Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and help feed the brain keeping it healthy and alert.
Several studies conducted on omega-3 fatty acids have shown that they help to boost mental skills and increase focus. Some of the best fish for these brilliant fatty acids, are:
Additionally, some research has shown omega-3 fats may help manage psychological and behavioural conditions, because of their role in neurotransmitter function. Studies in Japanese children have shown fish intake to alleviate depression and related symptoms.
How to get your kids to eat oily fish? try:
- Salmon sandwiches - cut the crusts off to make them feel special.
- Cover the fish in bread crumbs and bake - a healthy fish finger.
- Roll into sushi - add in chopsticks for a challenge.
Fruits and berries
Most children like berries which is great as they're a rich source of vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Fruits such as apples and plums are a great source of quercetin. This anti-oxidant helps boost mental skills and blueberries and have been shown to improve exam performance by up to 11%.
It's usually less of a struggle to get kids to eat berries. But for the really picky eaters, try:
- An Elixir Vitality smoothy - it's packed with antioxidants and tastes delicious
- In a mix on top of yoghurt.
- Blended and frozen into an ice lolly.
It's essential for delivering nutrients to the brain and for removing toxins. When the brain is fully hydrated, concentration and mental alertness is improved.
Did you know that a mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory? It can also cause kids to have problems understanding basic math, and have difficulty focusing on a computer screen or printed page in a book. Drinking water every day can help prevent memory loss well into old age.
We hope you find these tips useful. We're dedicated to making it easier for people to look after their health and have created a range of superfood juices to make this accessible to everyone.