Brain Food: The Right Nutrition For Your Child’s Brain Development
Hearing your toddler say his first word…
Watching your little one fit the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle…
Watching your child have an imaginary conversation with her soft toy…
The toddler years are a special time of wonder for us as a parent. It’s like watching a marvel unfold. This little bundle of unbridled energy is soaking up every little bit of information from the world around. It’s clear to us that our child is growing not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. And while the physical changes are astounding, the mental development is no less phenomenal.
But that mental evolution needs the right fuel. Our kids need a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods along with love and encouragement to reach their full potential.
As any parent knows, the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing. Convincing your toddler that an apple is as sweet a treat as a chocolate chip cookie is going to be hard. But we can ensure that their diet is as nutritious and wholesome as possible, even while allowing for some of their favourite treats.
So what are the foods that fuel growth?
Here are some of the foods that are important for our kids.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Essential fatty acids are important nutrients for the development of the brain, the eyes and the nervous system. However, the body does not produce EFAs, and so it is important to include in their diet, good sources of EFAs such as fish, vegetable oils and nuts. Kids also can benefit from drinking growing-up milk that contains EFAs and other important vitamins and minerals.
Protein is vital to build the cells that make up the body. Children need protein especially important during the big growth years. It also is essential for brain cell development. High-quality protein sources include milk, eggs, meat, chicken and fish.
Iron is important for forming blood cells and for healthy brain development. So it’s important that our children get enough of it everyday. The main sources of iron are red meat, tuna, salmon, eggs, legumes, dried fruits such as raisins and dates, green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli, and whole grains like wheat.
Zinc deficiency can lead to slower mental development. Most children do not get the right amount of zinc, so they need zinc-rich food like meat, fish, egg, cheese, nuts and grains.
With the right fuel offered by these foods, our children can maximize their potential in their growing years.