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7 Brain Foods for Kids

By Anne Krueger
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD

As fast as children whiz from classroom to activity to home and back again, their brains are just as rapidly growing and changing.

The foods they eat are important. "These years are critical for brain development, and what they eat affects focus and cognitive skills," says psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, co-author of The Happiness Diet and Fifty Shades of Kale.

These 7 foods can help kids stay sharp and affect how their brains develop well into the future.

1. Eggs

The protein and nutrients in eggs help kids concentrate, says Los Angeles-based chef Beth Saltz, RD.

How to Serve It: Fold scrambled eggs into a whole-grain tortilla for a filling breakfast or late-afternoon snack. "The protein-carb combo tides kids over until the next meal with no sugar-induced energy crash," Saltz says. You can also try serving egg salad sandwiches or a few deviled eggs.

2. Greek Yogurt

Fat is important to brain health, says Laura Lagano, RD. A full-fat Greek yogurt (which has more protein that other yogurts) can help keep brain cells in good form for sending and receiving information.

How to Serve It: Pack Greek yogurt in a lunch with some fun mix-ins: cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber, and blueberries for a dose of nutrients called polyphenols. Dark chocolate chips are another option. They have polyphenols, too. These nutrients are thought to keep the mind sharp by hiking blood flow to the brain.

3. Greens

Full of folate and vitamins, spinach and kale are linked to lower odds of getting dementia later in life. Kale is a super food, packed with antioxidants and other things that help new brain cells grow.

How to Serve It: For some kids, greens are a hard sell. So rather than serving a salad, you may want to try some different ideas:

  • Whip spinach or kale into smoothies for snack time.
  • Add spinach to omelets or lasagna.
  • Make kale chips. Cut kale from stems/ribs, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt, and bake.

 

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