Our bodies are fueled by food and water and the importance of ensuring appropriate and adequate amounts of nutrients for optimizing brain health cannot be overemphasized. With the increasing availability of processed and convenience foods which have a limited nutrient profile, many children are missing crucial vitamins and minerals essential for development. One way of ensuring adequate nutrition is to educate children about where their food comes from and involve them in the process of preparing food. Here are some tips for incorporating nutritive foods in your children’s diet:
Have a small garden – start with easy vegetables like kale or chard. My niece loves to eat herbs like fennel and mint right off the stem. This helps to develop a palate and natural affinity for spices and herbs that are nutrient rich. Sharing in the journey of cultivating a garden can be an enriching experience for the whole family.
Skip the juice, opt for water and ensure plenty of fluids. Juice (especially from concentrate) contains added chemicals and sugar that are not ideal for brain health or mood. If you would like to give your child juice there are many naturally unsweetened options available. You could also opt for a vitamin rich smoothie where you can incorporate greens (from the garden)! Here is a link to a video on how to make a green smoothie with your kids from the wonderful nutritionists at Whole Life Nutrition: https://wholelifenutrition.net/articles/childrens-health/how-make-green-smoothie-kids
Add naturally occurring sources of omega 3 fatty acids into your foods. Hemp seeds are incredibly nutrient dense and full of protein, fiber, and omega 3’s. Adding them as “sprinkles” on a nourishing bowl of oatmeal is a fantastic way to start the day.