Healthy food helps create a healthy mind, right? This is none the more evident than in our children whose minds are still developing. Did you know that one study published in the Journal of School Health indicated that fifth graders who ate fast food scored worse on standardized literary assessments than those who were fed healthy meals?

This certainly makes sense when you consider what fast food includes. These are typically cheeseburgers, French fries, hot dogs, pizza, and other foods that are devoid of many healthy vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for healthy cognitive development. Instead, these foods are full of added oils, sugars, and preservatives that are dangerous to human health.

The human brain, instead, needs zinc, B vitamins, and Omega 3 fatty acids to flourish. In addition to this, these unhealthy foods increase the likelihood of sickness, which in turn increases the occurrence of school absences, further hindering learning.

How Can Parents Facilitate Better Brain Health in Their Children?

It all starts with lunch. Unfortunately, many parents give their children a few bucks to get food from the cafeteria, which isn’t the best idea. The food typically served in school cafeterias is loaded with preservatives and added sugar and oils that are unhealthy for cognitive development. In order for parents to give their children the best school lunch possible for their health, they will need to provide it themselves. Of course, this is easier said than done, which is why we offer the following advice:

Get to Know What Foods Are Best for Brain Health: The growing body needs healthy nutrients, which is why you should know which foods provide the most bang for your buck. Canned salmon, for example, is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids and could easily serve as a replacement for tuna fish. Eggs, peanut butter, whole grain bread, yogurt, oatmeal, berries, beans, and vegetables are also great for the brain. Try to introduce organic forms of these foods into your children’s school lunches to facilitate stronger brain health.

Cook Bulk Foods in Advance: You only have so much time, and we understand that. Some foods like peanut butter on whole grain bread and bean burritos can be made pretty quickly. However, some foods may take a little longer. We highly encourage you to cook beans, lentils, and oatmeal in bulk on the weekend to reduce your time in the kitchen on the weekdays.

Introduce Your Children to These Foods Slowly: We have identified some of the best foods for brain health. However, as you probably know, it can take some time for children to get used to new foods before they are willing to eat them. Try to slowly introduce your children to brain-healthy foods at home, so they begin to get used to them and eventually like them. That way, they’ll be less likely to opt for the French fries and chips instead.