During the first 36 months of life, the brain is growing at an amazing rate as he/she learns out how to think, react, and problem-solve. Of course, developmental activities are key, but what goes into the body is just as important. Foods that contain antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates are all particularly important in brain health.
Antioxidants are nutrients to protect your toddler’s brain from normal wear and tear.
- Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries
- Other fruits and vegetables — the more brightly colored, the more nutrient dense.
- Nuts, seeds, and nut/seed butters
Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with peanut butter enriched with omega-3s and use sliced blueberries or strawberries instead of jam or jelly. Or, try stirring fresh berries into plain yogurt; or make a smoothie with the same ingredients and some milk in the blender. Add some tahini or other seed butters to porridge or spreads for bread and toast. Remember to also use these opportunities to add some healthy extras.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids are healthy fats and the fillers in breast milk and fortified baby formulas. They are crucial to brain and eye development and help with mood-stabilization.
Make salmon fillets for dinner or put salmon salad (you can prepare it as you would prepare tuna salad) on whole-grain bread for lunch. Bake some flaxseed cookies (post coming soon) for a treat or add flax to your oatmeal or porridge. Scrambled eggs are super easy and a kid favorite.
Complex Carbohydrates are fiber-rich whole grains. They are crucial to the brain’s functioning as its main source of fuel. Remember that sugars are simple carbohydrates, lacking fiber, which are absorbed very quickly, causing fast energy highs and even faster lows. The fiber in complex carbohydrates slows the body’s absorption of energy, allowing the brain gets a nice steady fuel supply.
Yummy whole-grain cereals and oatmeal are great for breakfast. Keep expanding on your porridge creations. Be sure to make sandwiches with whole-grain bread and use whole-wheat pastas for those yummy dishes.
Please share your thoughts and ideas.