Food for Thought

Jane Gleasure
Child Development

Food for thought:  5 brain boosting foods for kids

A child’s brain is a marvellous thing. Constantly growing and developing; building nerves and connections. Firing messages back and forth from brain to body, and back again. All while making memories, processing thoughts, feelings, and learning, learning, learning. All day, every day.

According to an article by Harvard Medical School, the first two years of a child’s life are when the adult foundations of the brain are laid down, and once made the connections cannot be undone. How the brain begins is how it stays…

So, while they are little we must do everything we can to help boost children’s brain power - and where better to start than the food they eat. As Bethany Fayer MS RD, an American nutritionist states the brain is the first of the body’s organs to absorb nutrients from the food we eat…’

But brain food doesn’t need to be tricky. We’ve compiled a list of our 5 favourite healthy snack ideas for kids, all packed with essential nutrients for your mini Einstein:

1. Salmon Balls & wholegrain rice

A study once found that children eating fish rich in Omega-3 had higher IQ’s and slept better at night (win win!) as it improves cognitive behaviour. While Tuna is a good source, it’s a very lean fish so not a rich fatty source, unlike Salmon.

Annabel Karmel has a delicious recipe for Salmon balls here, which you can make in batches and freeze for when you need something quick!

2. Peanut Butter and Berry Sandwiches

The Americans love a PB&J sandwich! The J being sugary jelly or jam of course, but, done right this famous snack can actually be a nutritional powerhouse. Make sure the peanut butter is all natural, the ‘J’ can be thin slices of strawberry or blueberries, and the bread should be wholegrain.

Peanut butter is rich in protein and healthy fats, while the fruits provide precious antioxidants to boost memory and brain health. Whole grains are a complex carb, the brains only source of fuel.

3. Pesto Pasta

Again, nuts are packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, to help boost mood and keep your nervous system in check. You can make your own Pesto easily enough, or, if you’re short on time, stir through a pre-made one with some wholegrain pasta. It keeps well in the fridge for a quick meal.

4. Scrambled Egg pitta pockets

The humble egg. So small yet so nutritionally powerful. The yolk is where you will find the good stuff; high in protein for muscle growth, but also the essential nutrient Choline which is key for mental focus and learning.

Scramble up some eggs and serve in a wholemeal pitta - the protein/carb mix will keep your little one fuller for much longer, which will also benefit their concentration.

5. Warm porridge with banana and cinnamon

Oats are a brilliant source of the glucose that the brain (and body) needs for fuel. Oats are also a good source of vitamin E, B-vitamins, potassium and zinc - which make our bodies and brains function at full capacity.

By filling up on oats before nursery, you can be sure the fibre will keep them going till snack time! Also, bananas contain potassium, manganese, and vitamin C to enhance memory and improve learning.

You can buy easy porridge oat packets that all you do is add milk (full fat) and microwave for a couple of minutes. Add chopped banana and cinnamon and you have a healthy breakfast (or snack) in no time.

More information

Healthy eating is very important to us at Little People Nurseries. You can find out more here: