Today, we are sharing a Guest Post from Heather over at Kula Mama! You should go check out her website. She has tons of recipes that I can't wait to try!
Ever wonder how you might unlock the nutritional brain power of the food your child eats? What if I told you that by making a few small changes to your weekly meal plan, you could increase your child’s brain power? It’s possible. The brain develops at the speed of light before a child turns ten and nutrition plays a big role in that development. Here are 7 ways to help your child eat like a smart kid.
1) Smart kids eat good FATS. Smart kids eat lots of healthy, brain-building, omega-3 fats. It might surprise you to know that our brains are made up mostly of fat and the brain is the hungriest organ in our body! Your child’s brain depends on essential fatty acids to thrive. Smart kids stay far away from hydrogenated and damaged fats found in most packaged foods. Instead they focus on eating lots of brain-building fats found in Salmon, chia, flax, and walnut.
2) Smart kids eat SUPER raw. Not only do smart kids make sure they eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables, they also incorporate SUPER raw nutrient boosters like; spirulina, raw cacao, ginger, and chia into their diets. Fruits and vegetables lose much of their vitamin content when cooked, so eating raw fruits and veggies builds a nourished brain. The best way to get raw foods into your child’s daily menu? Try a power smoothie made with lots of SUPER raw nutrient boosters!
3) Smart kids eat at the kitchen table. Nutrient absorption is disrupted when kids eat in front of the TV, in the car, or on the run. Why? Because distracted eating creates a stress response in the body and digestion shuts down during times of stress. So for optimal brain power, help your child get into a relaxed state before eating by sitting down, turning off electronics and taking 3 deep breaths.
4) Smart kids grow food. Fruits and veggies start losing their nutritional value as soon as they are harvested from the earth. Vitamins in food are destroyed by heat, light and oxygen. Produce trucked in from faraway has little nutritional value left after the long journey. To get the most bang for your nutritional buck, it’s important to eat fruits and veggies soon after they are picked. Smart kids know this so they grow food in the backyard or buy it from a local farmer’s market.
5) Smart kids don’t use microwaves. Want to know the quickest way to destroy nutrients in food? Cook it in the microwave. Our bodies have a hard time processing food cooked in microwaves and some studies show microwaved food can be hazardous to our health. Smart kids know this and opt for old school stovetop cooking instead.
6) Smart kids chew food well. Digestion starts in the mouth, so smart kids chew their food very well to enhance nutrient absorption. Smart kids also skip liquids during mealtime. Why? Because too much liquid mixed with food impedes digestion in the tummy.
7) Smart kids like SPICE. Several spices have been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain, so smart kids eat meals flavored with high-quality (organic) spices such as garlic, ginger, onion, oregano, rosemary, thyme and turmeric.
Are you raising a smart kid? How do you help your kids get more brain power out of their food?
Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, CCN
Optimal Digestive Health by Trent W. Nichols, MD
Brain-Building Nutrition by Michael A. Schmidt
Veggiewoman’s Guide to Health by Laura Knoff, NC
Heather Haynes, MA, is a nutrition and wellness educator working in the field of whole foods nutrition and holistic health. She is passionate about the health of all children and believes raising happy, healthy kids starts with getting back to basics and cooking with REAL food. You can find her blogging over at www.kulamama.com.