7 Best Brain And Muscle Foods For Growing Children
Looking for the best food for toddlers brain development and beyond? Put the cereal box away, and discover the six natural foods that will properly fuel your children’s developing brain, muscles and nervous system.
Is Breakfast Really The Most Important Meal Of The Day?
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the co-inventor of Kellogg’s corn flakes convinced us that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. He did this solely to sell cereal. As a result current statistics show that 93% percent of Americans believe breakfast is the most important meal and 73% percent of children eat sweetened cereal for one or more breakfasts a week.
While approximately 80% of children in the U.S. eat breakfast daily, the usual fare for children consists largely of foods such as eggs, bacon, bagels, yogurt, muffins, protein shakes, cereal or worse, cereal bars. Customarily, these foods are perceived to be fast and convenient ways that many children start their day. However, none of these foods is adequate alone, or in combination, to benefit your child’s brain. This means, many children are beginning their school day at a nutritional disadvantage.
Understand What The Brain Needs
It is a popular belief that protein helps a child to grow and sustains your child’s appetite and energy level, when the truth is, the muscles, the brain and the nervous system, rely heavily on carbohydrates and a low fat diet.
Therefore, while some protein is beneficial to the body and necessary for growth, kids today eat too much of it. Protein foods should not be the main source of energy for children since protein slows digestion, and cannot provide adequate nutrition on its own to power the brain, maintain the nervous system and develop your child’s growing muscles.
To illustrate, while eggs, as a protein source, may sustain appetite, nutritionally these do not give the brain what it requires to function optimally. In fact, if your child only eats eggs for breakfast, as an example, it is highly likely they will crave sugar later in the day. Bacon is far worse given its high fat content, since fat slows glucose from entering the body’s cells.
When It Comes To Junk Carbs The Brain Will Take What It Can Get
Because children are have active and busy brains that are taking in the environment around them, as well as growing muscles and a developing nervous system, they require a high amount of carbohydrates from their diet. This is why fruit is best food for toddlers brain development. Otherwise the brain will settle for any form of glucose it can get. This means, if your child is eating junk carbs for breakfast, such as cereal, yogurt, a bagel or muffins, etc., their brain will rely on these as a form of quick glucose. That is not to say this is the best source of carbohydrate for your child’s brain function, but only what is the most available. Just as soon as the carbs are eaten they will be used by the brain and muscles as quick energy, only to result in a sugar crash. This is largely why these foods are referred to as simple sugars.
Fruit Is The Best Food for Toddlers Brain Development
Fruit is the fastest, most nourishing convenience food on earth and there is no question it is the best food for toddlers brain development. The brain prefers the slow release of carbohydrates from fruit, as opposed to junk carbs, to fuel and muscles and the brain as opposed to an overload of protein and fat. Thanks to the fiber content in fruit, the brain does its best work on the slow energy and nourishment from these foods.
Related: Here Is Why Children Only Eat One Food From Their Plate
Some brain-boosting fruits to offer your children for breakfast might include:
Bananas – There is no food source more portable and kid-friendly than a banana. Bananas are an excellent brain food that is balanced with protein, glucose, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Two bananas in the morning alone or along with grapes or an apple or two, makes a nourishing and complete brain-boosting breakfast. What is more, not only are bananas highly nourishing, bananas are approximately 75% water, which makes them surprisingly hydrating. New research shows that bananas also contain good amount of tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, which is known for relaxation and improved mood.
Wild Blueberries – Better than cereal, a bowl of wild blueberries drizzled with honey, makes a highly nourishing brain-boosting breakfast, and will provide your child with essential antioxidants and phytochemicals for continued immune health and brain function. While all berries are amazing health-boosters, the wild blueberry shines as the most healing. A study done on eating blueberries as a smoothie in the morning as compared with toast and jam, showed boosted brain function later in the day. Like the wild blueberry, other berries such as blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries also hold their nutrition. The added honey provides further anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects, and also provides the glucose the brain loves and thrives on.
Cucumbers – Not many people realize the cucumber is a fruit. Cucumbers, like tomatoes, do not raise blood sugar but do contains glucose together with mineral salts. Minerals salts are required by the body to keep brain function running smoothly. As a low sugar fruit that is high in mineral salts, the cucumber has adequate provisions for the brain to use for neuron function to keep thought processes running smoothly.
Cherries – Zinc is the number reason for giving your children cherries when you can get them in season. Zinc is the number one mineral for the growing body, sky-rocketing immune health and protecting your child from disease. It is second only to vitamin C and when taken in combination both zinc and vitamin C will help your children to develop a strong and health immune system. We are all deficient in zinc, since there isn’t much natural zinc in the Standard American Diet, unless you’re eating pumpkin seeds, apricots or seafood every day.
Apples – An apple or three a day really does keep the doctor away. Eating apples for breakfast and throughout the day are a great habit to get your children into. Especially the red variety, since these have the most antioxidants and are the most nutritious and healing. Red apples provide the brain with nourishment as well as a rich source of phytochemicals, vitamins and mineral salts that the brain and immune system loves and requires.
Honey – Raw organic honey is an incredible healing and medicinal food. After one year of age, it is one of the best food for toddlers brain development thanks to glucose, which also fuels muscle growth. When taken daily honey also has antibiotic and antiviral properties that will boost your child's immune system, and help them fight off the flu season. Raw organic honey makes a great dip for apples or a sweet addition to nut butter sandwiches.
Avocado If you want a food as nutritious as mother's milk for your child, have them eat avocados. Avocados, like all fruit and similar to mother's milk is high in vitamins, minerals, and glucose. Avocados also contain a healthy amount of good fat, which is also beneficial to the growing child.
Related: The One Reason Oatmeal May Be Bad For Your Children
Fruit Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day
Any meal that involves eating more fruit is the most important meal of the day. Adding more fruit to your child's diet will always be a smart and beneficial move for children that will secure both their digestive and overall health. Overtime, you will not only see an improvement in your child’s concentration, learning ability, temperament and test scores, you will see an improvement in their overall wellbeing and growth. What is more, eating complex carbohydrates such as fruit will result in a more nourished child thanks to fruit’s ability to improve gut health and regulate nervous system function.
Always work closely with your practitioner, Naturopath or Holistic Nutrition expert to monitor your child’s progress and to ensure they are getting an adequate balance of all the nutrients they require for growth and health.