1Begin the Day with a Brainy Breakfast
Above all other organs, the brain is most affected – for better or worse – by what you eat. You put junk food into a child’s brain, you get junk behavior and junk learning. Scientific studies show that children who begin the day with a brainy breakfast:
- Made higher grades
- Were more attentive and participated better in class
- Were less likely to be diagnosed with A.D.D. or learning disabilities
- Handled complex learning tasks better
- Missed fewer school days because of illness
The main ingredients of a brainy breakfast are:
- Protein, which perks up the brain
- Fiber-filled carbs, which provide a steady supply of fuel
- Omega-3 fats, which build smart brain cells
- Minerals, such as calcium and iron, which help brain biochemistry work better
Here are some tips for brainy back-to-school breakfasts from the Sears’ family kitchen:
- Whole-grain waffles or pancakes topped with blueberries and peanut butter
- Oatmeal with blueberries and yogurt
- Whole-wheat banana nut bread and yogurt
- ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese in a scooped-out cantaloupe half
- Whole-wheat tortilla wrapped around scrambled eggs and diced tomatoes
- Veggie omelet, whole-wheat toast, and fruit
- Peanut butter and banana slices on a whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat milk
- Almond-strawberry yogurt cup. Layer the yogurt and strawberries (or another fruit, such
- as blueberries or chopped apple, peaches, or pineapple) in a small bowl. Drizzle honey
- over the top if plain yogurt is used. Sprinkle with almonds and/or flax-seed meal.
- Zucchini pancakes. This is a long-standing Sears’ favorite that even our toddlers enjoyed.
- Add a cup of shredded zucchini to whole-wheat pancakes.
- A fruit and yogurt smoothie
Besides a brainy breakfast, send your child to school with a healthy snack. Those busy little bodies and brains run out of fuel mid-morning and mid-afternoon, the times when learning and behavioral problems are most likely to appear. Our favorite snack: Go nuts! Nuts are the perfect snack because they provide the perfect balance of healthy fats, healthy carbs, and protein. Make your own trail mix: let your children pick out their favorite nuts and add dried fruit. For school snacks, be safe and avoid peanuts because of possible peanut allergy. A handful of nuts for a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack is just what the school-doctor orders.