Sharpen your pencils and your mind this fall

By Kirsten Nunez
Updated September 10, 2020
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With back-to-school season around the corner, it’s time to check in with your arsenal of healthy breakfast foods. Sure, breakfast is important year-round—but even more so for kiddos during the school year. Breakfast provides fuel for their growing brains, setting the tone for a day of learning and thinking. Give your child’s noggin a back-to-school boost with these nutritious and delicious breakfast foods and recipes that feature them.

Eggs

Eggs are high in choline, which is involved in memory and mood. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, choline is crucial for brain growth during the first 3 years of life. And after that? Children (and adults) still it need for neuronal health. Try making kid-friendly quiche cups instead of the usual scrambled eggs.

Blueberries

Sweeten up your little one’s breakfast with blueberries. The tiny fruits are packed with flavonoids, a.k.a. anti-oxidative plant chemicals with memory-boosting properties. Case in point: A 2016 study found that blueberry drinks improved memory and word recognition in kids aged 7 to 10 years old. For a quick breakfast, freeze a blueberry smoothie into ice cubes and blend them in the A.M.

Fortified breakfast cereal

Fortified cereal is an actual life saver during hectic mornings. It’s high in vitamin B12, a nutrient that’s associated with healthy cognitive development, according to a 2016 review. It also contains iron, zinc, and folic acid—all of which support brain function throughout childhood. Go for low-sugar, whole grain cereal and serve with protein-rich yogurt for a balanced breakfast.

Yogurt

On that note, yogurt deserves a spot on your kid’s menu. It’s packed with vitamin B12 for the brain, along with protein for satiety and calcium for bone growth. Extra points if it’s Greek yogurt, which is especially high in protein. A 2017 article in Advances in Nutrition recommends combining yogurt and fruit for optimal health benefits, giving you a great reason to whip up mini parfaits.

Oats

As a rich source of complex carbs, oats provide fuel for your kiddo’s body and mind. A 2015 article also shares that it’s high in selenium and zinc, two nutrients necessary for basic molecular activities in the brain. Pro tip: Change up your bowl game and serve nutritious oat cookies.

Turmeric

Who says kids get to have all the fun? Grown-ups, make yourself a turmeric latte or add turmeric on your eggs. According to a 2018 study, curcumin—the active compound in turmeric—may support attention and memory by fighting inflammation.