Smart Foods

It’s back to school time, many of us have hectic work schedules and don’t know what to feed our kids. Unfortunately, our schools don’t offer good options making it very difficult to ensure our kids are having proper meals during the day. Yet, it is still very important to make sure that our kids have food during the day so that they can have the energy to absorb information and function.

Check out these brain boosting foods for your kids and perhaps yourself too!

  1. Eggs, and most importantly egg yolks! Why? Egg yolks contain choline, and that’s what’s responsible for making your little ones’ brain develop and their memory expand. We all need our brain to function, and if egg yolks don’t tickle your fancy? Broccoli, cauliflower, yogurt, and beans are all good sources of choline too.
  2. Beets, bring your B game on and include Vitamin B in their breakfast or lunch box meal. Vitamin B is key in helping retain information from your memory, and who doesn’t want that? Not only do they contain Vitamin B, but they also contain folate, a heart protecting vitamin. Make a roasted beet kabob for your kids lunch box!
  3. Berries, our brain boosting antioxidants! Again, these berries are heavily linked to our memories. Strawberries contain fisetin, a compound that promotes the strength of your long-term memory; while the blueberries and raspberries contain anthocyanin to help protect your brain neurons.
  4. Pumpkin Seeds, or what I call the “tryptophan seeds” which makes your mood much better due to tryptophan’s effect on the brain, helping it create and release serotonin. Sometimes kids can be grumpy in the morning, so try giving them a cup of milk with a handful of pumpkin seeds for breakfast.
  5. Cayenne Pepper, containing a burst of capsaicin that fight fat and relieve pain. Capsaicin helps release endorphins from your brain, helping to reduce stress and focus more. So next time your kids have exams, make their breakfast spicy it’ll be worth it!
  6. An Apple a day, keeps the doctor away. We mean it! Why you may ask? Well, apples contain catechins, a substance that has been researched and proven to help protect our brains from chemical damage that lays around us. Include it daily in your kid’s lunch box and mix it up with the colors, but be sure to choose organic apples as the catechins are found in the peel of  the apple.
  7. Kale, an anti-aging food for the brain. Kale can lower your brain age by 1 to 2 years according to a medical research study conducted by Harvard Medical School. If you can’t find it, then maybe try to grow it and include it as chips for your kids to munch on instead of the bagged fake-potato ones.
  8. Dark Chocolate, blood flow promoter will make sure the blood circulates to your brain and may actually improve your math skills! Who said eating healthy is tough? If your kids don’t like dark chocolate whole, then turn it into a moose or sneak it into their milk in the mornings!

Check out this granola recipe below, it’s easy to make and easy to eat – either for breakfast before school or a snack during school!

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The Healthy Granola

This is a quick and easy recipe that incorporates some of the brain-boosting foods above!

Yield: One 9 x 13 Pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Place the oats, pumpkin seeds, and chopped pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes in a 150 degrees Celsius oven, stirring once or twice.
  2. Remove and leave the oven on.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the crispy rice cereal, flour, coconut, cranberries, salt and cinnamon. Add the toasted oats mixture, and mix all together.
  4. In a small saucepan, bring the honey and butter to a gentle boil in low heat. Simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and peanut butter.
  6. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with buttered parchment paper.
  7. Pour the mixture and sprinkle the dark chocolate chips on top. Use buttered hands, or an oiled spatula to press the mixture firmly into the pan.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, checking at 25 minutes as some ovens bake more quickly than others.
  9. Allow the bars to cool in the pan completely before cutting them.
  10. Remove the parchment paper from the pan, cut the bars into slices and enjoy!

You can wrap the bars individually, and store them in the refrigerator or freezer.

http://www.rodale.com/iq-foods

http://www.pbs.org/food/kitchen-vignettes/back-to-school-granola-bars/

 

      

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