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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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The Best Brain Foods for Breakfast

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A child eating breakfastEveryone in America has probably heard the saying one time or another in their lives that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Well, it’s the truth and especially important for growing children. Eating a healthy breakfast ensures children start the day off with proper nutrition to help them to be successful at school. Dozens of studies over the last sixty years have consistently shown that children who eat breakfast perform better academically than those who don't.

This doesn’t mean feeding your children doughnuts or honey buns every morning, either. The types of food your kids eat is also very important. Certain foods can boost a child's brain growth, and can improve memory and concentration. Once your child skips breakfast or they start to feel hungry because their breakfast did not last very long, it leads to other unhealthy choices throughout the day. Skipping breakfast decreases the ability to concentrate and do our best at school and work. How can your child get good grades at school if they are thinking about being hungry and not what the teacher is saying?

Breakfast is a priority in my house every day with my family. It gives us a chance to spend time together in the morning and gets us all off to a healthy start.

Check out my top 5 favorite breakfast foods to help your kids start their day off right.

 

  • Milk and yogurt: Dairy products are excellent sources of protein and B vitamins, which are both essential for the growth of the brain tissue and neurotransmitters. The protein and carbohydrates contained in dairy are also a source of energy for the brain.

 

  • Fruit: Fruits contain powerful antioxidants and vitamins and minerals important for growing children. Studies have shown kids who eat berries regularly had improved memory. The nutrients contained in fruits will also keep brain cells strong and healthy.

 

  • Oats: Oats are one of my all time favorite breakfast foods and are also a great grain for the brain. Oats energizes kids and contains vitamins B, E, potassium, and zinc which help brain development and help the brain to function at full capacity. The fiber contained in oats (my kids love oatmeal) will also provide a lasting breakfast so your child will stay full longer.

 

  • Peanut butter : Peanut butter has 30 essential vitamins and minerals! It’s also a great source of protein, which is important for brain function as well as helping your children to stay full longer so they are able to concentrate.  Did you know that 90% of households in the U.S. have peanut butter in their pantry?  Talk about a convenient staple!  Get creative and use it beyond just the traditional PBJ.  Check out my recent appearance on The Daily Buzz where I talk about the benefits of peanut butter!

 

  • Eggs: I can’t say enough great things about eggs. They are not only cheap, but are also a great source of protein and are very versatile. My kids like them scrambled, in omelets, hardboiled --the possibilities are endless. The choline found in eggs plays a big role in brain function and memory.

 

Start your children’s day (and your own day) off right by incorporating these foods into your daily breakfast routine. You can’t go wrong with any of them! Want more tips on brain strategies to boost not only your children’s brainpower but your own? Check out my friend and colleague Heidi Hanna’s book on boosting your brainpower, and stay tuned for the follow up book as well! 

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Tags: Healthy Eating , Nutrition

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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