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Food for Healthy Brains and Growing Bodies

Elaine

Brain food for kids

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Let’s Talk Easy and Healthy School Snacks for Brain Development and Healthy Growth

Our family is a definite foodie family! We get excited about food, new and delicious food, foods from different cultures, and eating snacks too. 

When it comes to snacks for our kids, it is easy to just grab snacks that are prepackaged and most often processed.  We all do it and it is okay!

With back to school around the corner, I wanted to take the time to discover and share some of our family favourite easy and healthy school snacks for brain development and healthy growth! Once we know the benefits of certain foods, it is easy to create yummy and healthy school snacks for brain development and healthy growth!  Please do let me know if you try some of these ideas here below.  I would love to know what you think, and please do share your own yummy and healthy ideas!

I am a BIG fan of feeding kids with foods that are not only DELICIOUS but will help promote the healthy growth of their bodies and their brains.  So let’s start with a quick refresher for all of us remember some of the best foods for healthy kids’ growth and development.

During childhood and adolescence, good nutrition is key to healthy growth and development.  This is the age that research advises is vital in helping kids reach their full potential in height and brain development.

brain food children

Brain Food

As parents and child care providers, we try to do our best to help our children have healthy, developing brains.  We get them to do puzzles, exercise, watch less television, have less screen time, help them with homework, and get to bed at a decent time, most nights, at least.  However, what we feed them is so important for developing healthy brains and growth.  Here are just a few foods to consider for meal and snack prep this week, and help us prepare easy and healthy school snacks for brain development and healthy growth.

Leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and kale, are jam packed with nutrients our brains craves, like: folate, beta carotene, and vitamin K.  Leafy green foods help slow cognitive decline.

Fatty fish are rich in omega-3, which are healthy unsaturated fats that help build healthy brains and protect against Alzheimer’s.

Berries, have natural plant pigments (called flavonoids), that give them their bright colours, help improve memory.

Nuts are an excellent source of protein and good fats to help build healthy brains. For example, walnuts in help improve one’s memory.  This mama needs to eat more walnuts!

And let’s not forget chocolate.  Dark chocolate improves cognitive function and improves brain function by increasing blood flow.

growth food

Growth Food

Here are some foods to remember to include when preparing easy and healthy school snacks for brain development and healthy growth this week:

Eggs – one egg is full of nutrients that are vital for healthy growth and development.  Packed with calcium, over 6 grams of protein, vitamin D, folate, and vitamin B12. Studies show that deficiencies in vitamin B12 amd folate may lead to poor growth in kids.

Almonds – are an excellent source of Vitamin E- Vital for children as a vitamin E deficiency can cause stunted growth in children.

Fruits – Vitamin C is important for bone health and helps produce collagen which is vital in bone strength and repair.

Fish – provide vitamin D and Calcium, which aid in bone development and growth

On a side note, good sleep and regular exercise are important in healthy growth and development of our children’s bodies and brains. Making sure our children have regular physical activity is important because it helps strengthen muscles and bones. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (aka CDC) recommends that 6–17 years old kids should aim to get a minimum of 1 hour of exercise every day.

Many studies show that a lack of sleep can affect a child’s growth and development.  According to the CDC, here are three ways to tell if your child is getting a good amount of sleep:

  1. They fall asleep easily, usually in less that 30 minutes.
  2. They wake up easily at the same time each morning.
  3. They are awake and alert throughout the day.

So, if you are wondering how much sleep they need, the Centres for Disease and Control Prevention recommends:

Age

Hours of sleep

4–12 months

12–16

1–2 years

11–14

3–5 years

10–13

6–12 years

9–12

13–18 years

8–10

Here are some Easy and Healthy School Snacks for Brain Development and Healthy Growth!

Remember, the best and easiest way to get kids to eat healthy is to have it ready and right in front of them!  For example, prepare a kid-friendly charcuterie! Add a cheese fondue to it and you now have a fun dinner!

When packing snacks for school, make sure to use fun, leak-proof containers to put them in and the kids will be excited to use them too!  Here are some from Staples: https://www.staples.ca/search?query=sistema

Here are some easy and healthy school snacks for brain development and healthy growth.  Make these for breakfast or afterschool snack time.

Pizza pitas

PITA PIZZAS or English Muffin Pizzas

Make it GREEK!

INGREDIENTS:

Whole-wheat pitas (or English Muffins)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 oz feta cheese, roughly chopped

½ cup Greek yogurt

2 tsp lemon juice

Cucumber-Tomato Salad:

1 cucumber, diced

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 Tbsp each olive oil and red wine vinegar

A pinch of each chili flakes and salt

2 Tbsp chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF and place pitas on a foil covered baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Bake in oven for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the feta, yogurt and lemon juice until smooth and creamy. Then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Toss the Cucumber-Tomato Salad ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Spread each pita with the feta-yogurt mixture and then sprinkle the cucumber-tomato salad on top and add a dash or chopped walnuts for extra brain food power!

Slice and enjoy!

Make it ITALIAN!

INGREDIENTS:

Whole-wheat pitas (or English Muffins)

2 Tbsp pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce, per pita

1⁄4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, per pita

1 pinch of spices (e.g. Italian seasoning, garlic salt)

Toppings: pepperoni, red peppers, any other favourites

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Brush on a little olive oil on the pita.
  2. Spread sauce on top of the pita.
  3. Sprinkle on the shredded cheese.
  4. Sprinkle on pinches of desired herbs and spices, and add any toppings you’d like.
  5. Place on baking sheet, bake for 5-7 minutes at 400°, or until cheese is melted (times may vary).
  6. Slice with pizza cutter and enjoy!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Brush pitas with olive oil.
  2. Spread sauce on top of the pitas and sprinkle on the cheese, spices, and any other toppings you desire.
  3. Bake them on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  4. Slice and enjoy!

Make it SWEET!

INGREDIENTS:

Whole-wheat pitas (or English Muffins)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup whipped cream cheese

1 tsp lemon juice

1 cup strawberries, sliced

¼ chopped walnuts or chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF and place pitas on a foil covered baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Bake in oven for 5 minutes.
  2. Spread each pita with the whipped cream cheese mixture and then sprinkle the sliced strawberries on top and add a dash or chopped nuts for extra brain food!

Slice and enjoy!

One bowl power cookies

ONE BOWL POWER COOKIES:

Everything Cookie (All the yumminess plus nutrition!) for a Quick Grab & Go Breakfast or Afterschool Snack

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick whole oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (helps your child build up immunity to allergens from local pollen)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 large banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips (I add them all!)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup each of ground flax, and hemp hearts (Hemp hearts are jam packed with vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, essential fatty acids, plant protein and fiber!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer). Mix until all of the ingredients are combined. The dough is thick and heavy.
  3. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, portion 1/4 cup mounds of cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Use the back of a spoon to slightly flatten out into a cookie shape. (The cookies will not spread in the oven.)
  4. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Cover leftover cookies and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Freezing Instructions: Cookies can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature or warm in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.

 

ENERGY BALLS

 

Great for some extra protein in a little yummy peanut butter ball! Check out this easy three step recipe here: https://www.easydaysies.com/road-trip-snacks/

Check out more yummy and easy back to school treats like: Yummy Make Ahead Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins, Make Ahead Mini Pizza Muffin Bites, and Quick and Healthy One Step “Good Morning Sunshine Smoothie” Recipes all here:  https://www.easydaysies.com/three-quick-and-delicious-easy-healthy-make-ahead-meals-for-busy-families-for-breakfast-and-lunch/.  Also, check out Make Ahead – Not Your Average Croissant here: https://www.easydaysies.com/quick-and-easy-make-ahead-camping-meals-and-snacks/

EveryThing CHEESE FUN-Do!

So yummy and so easy that kids can make this cheesy fondue any time after school or for dinner!

 INGREDIENTS:

1 pound shredded Gruyere cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan

2 Tbsp cornstarch

2 cups apple juice

½ tsp country-style Dijon mustard

Salt and black pepper, grounded

YUMMY FOODS TO DIP:

1 (bite-sized chunks) loaf of bread

2 sliced apples or pears

2 cups broccoli florets or cauliflower florets

1 cup grape tomatoes

Whole grain Crackers or pretzels

½ lb(s) salami, cut into chunks

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the apple juice over medium temperature. Combine the Gruyere and cornstarch in a bowl and carefully whisk it into the juice until it is boiling.
  2. Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan. Then, stir in the Parmesan and mustard. Add salt and pepper to your preference.
  3. Carefully dip your choice of dippers and enjoy this hot yummy snack, filling enough to be a meal!

The post Food for Healthy Brains and Growing Bodies appeared first on Easy Daysies - Magnetic Schedules for Families.


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