Foods That Stimulate Development for Your Child
The intellectual and neurological development of your child can be impacted by many things. Genetics, lifestyle, geographical influences, and even hormones can make a difference in how they grow. But, nutrition can also play a major role. Physical wellness is crucial to intellectual growth, and that starts by eating a diet that stimulates development, rather than hinders it.
Most people understand the basics of healthy eating. But, you may not understand that certain foods are better than others for developmental health. It’s especially important to choose the right foods to keep your child healthy if they are dealing with nutritionally-based diseases, such as diabetes or prediabetes. Finding a balance between foods that will help their body while stimulating neuro-developmental growth.
Even if your child is the picture of perfect physical health, there are ways to manage their diet that will help to stimulate development and make getting through school easier for them. So, next time you get ready to make your grocery list, keep these ideas in mind.
Understanding “Brain Food”
The years your children are in school are crucial for their intellectual development. The food they eat during that time needs to function as fuel for their brain. We often think of food as fuel for the body, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s just as important to feed your child’s mental muscles as their physical ones.
Different foods work in a variety of ways to improve neuro-developmental growth. Some of the best “brain foods” to include in your child’s diet include:
- Eggs – Boost concentration
- Greek yogurt – Keeps brain cells strong so they can send/receive information efficiently
- Kale – Helps brain cells to grow
- Fish – The Vitamin D protects the brain from memory loss
- Apples – Boost energy naturally while fighting mental decline
As you can see, these are very basic ingredients, but they go a long way. You might have to get creative with some of the ways you cook and serve them. And, this list certainly isn’t exclusive. Things like nuts, seeds, oatmeal, and berries are also great brain food options. The more you research different foods, the easier it will be to incorporate ingredients your child already likes into their daily diet more frequently.
Knowing What to Avoid
There aren’t necessarily any foods that need to be “off-limits” for your child. Building a healthy nutritional foundation for them lets them understand why healthy eating is important and can help them to turn it into a lifelong practice. That doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a piece of candy or a cookie sometimes. Deprivation rarely works in adult diets, and it can certainly be more difficult for kids.
But, that doesn’t mean those “treats” should be eaten regularly.
As you saw above, some foods can stimulate intellectual growth. As you might expect, some can hinder it. Some of the worst foods for brain health include:
- Sugary drinks and sodas
- Refined carbohydrates
- Highly processed foods
Notice a pattern? The more process and filled with sugar something is, the worse it typically is for the brain. So, while you might think a sugary snack or energy drink will boost your child’s productivity, think again. They’ll be likely to “crash” later from the sugar, and if those are continued components of their diet, it could have long-term effects. Instead, introduce productivity-boosting foods like complex carbs, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.
Healthy Eating Should Be Part of the Routine
While a diverse diet is a wonderful way to stimulate intellectual growth, it should only be one piece of the puzzle. When you make a healthy diet for a child part of their everyday routine, it becomes a handy component in their wellness toolbox. But, there are other “tools” in there that will make a big difference in their overall well-being and neuro-developmental growth, too.
Those components could be things like getting enough sleep each night, spending time with friends and family, and incorporating self-care into their everyday routine. Yes, kids need to practice self-care, too! It could be something as simple as taking a break in a quiet room or spending a few minutes outside to relax.
As a parent, this kind of routine will do several things for your child. First, it will provide them with a sense of comfort and familiarity. They’re less likely to be overwhelmed by stress, which can negatively impact their mental well-being.
A healthy routine will also set them up for positive lifelong habits. They’ll carry the basics of their routine with them well into adulthood, so you can feel confident that they will continue to value their mental and physical well-being throughout life.
There are plenty of healthy ways to feed your child. But, the next time you shop and prepare meals, keep more than just their physical health in mind. Start including ingredients that will stimulate their intellectual development, as well.