Keep your little one’s brain going this summer with a few food tips that make a positive difference. We gathered some advice from Deborah McNelis, M.Ed, Founder of Brain Insights, LLC and award-winning author of The Brain Development Series. These ideas highlight the importance that food plays in how children function, how they feel and how they behave.
“Nutrition is often thought of only in relation to the body,” she says. “But what is good for the body is also good for the brain.”
Providing a good breakfast sets your child up for a good day. Ensure that the first meal includes adequate amounts of protein (omega-3s and complex carbohydrates over sugary foods and beverages). This will contribute to a more content child with a better-functioning brain.
Establish routines for daily meals. Consistency each day provides a sense of predictability for young children. The brain feels more comfortable and safe when it knows what to expect next.
Offer choices. When children are given options, they’re more directly involved in an activity – and this often results in better cooperation. For example, ask if they’d like an apple or orange with their lunch, or if they’d like to drink their milk or finish their sandwich first.
Finally, one of the best things you can do to to keep your own brain happy is to follow these same tips! Eat well, get enough sleep, follow a routine – and also take note of all the great things you did throughout the day. Parenting is not an easy job, but be proud of the positive ways you’re contributing to the healthy brains of your family!
This post was written in collaboration with Deborah McNelis for Happy Family. Nourish your little ones with snacks from Happy Family at our Story Time next week as our Summer Reading Challenge comes to an end. For more details, see our store events page.