Have you ever had one of those days where you can’t seem to concentrate, where distractions stop you from completing simple tasks, and there’s an overall sense of jitteriness to your efforts?
I have to admit, I have. And if I take a moment to try and figure out why, I almost always come to the same conclusion: it’s because I’ve either been in a hurry and skipped breakfast or I’ve run out the door with something easy, rather than something nutritious, as a substitute for a good breakfast. It’s almost like starting off on a trip and forgetting to put gas in the car. The car won’t get very far and neither do I.
Children also experience this same reaction. Without a good, nutritious breakfast, they may get to school and find that they’re distracted, antsy, possibly still hungry, all of which can hamper their ability to focus and learn.
Food doesn’t just fuel our bodies. It fuels our brains, the powerhouse that drives our ability to learn and retain information. Several long-term studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between good nutrition and mental capacity in school-aged children.
According to information from the University of Florida Extension, iron deficiency, even in early stages, can decrease dopamine transmission, thus negatively impacting cognition. Deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals, specifically thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B, iodine, and zinc, are shown to inhibit cognitive abilities and mental concentration. On the upside, amino acid and carbohydrate supplementation can improve perception, intuition, and reasoning.
Fortunately, many of these key micronutrients are easily found with better food choices. Don’t look for them in boxes or wrapped in cellophane packaging. A much better place to find them is in whole foods – fresh fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, eggs, whole grains, and fresh meats.
If you’re a parent, you know that kids are natural snackers. You can bookend a child’s nutritional day, and give them a great energy boost for learning and retaining knowledge, by starting out with a breakfast that’s quick, healthy and nutritious, and having a great snack for them when they come home.
In the mornings, when everyone is trying to rush off to their day, a smoothie can pack a powerful punch of flavor and nutrition, while filling small tummies so they aren’t distracted by hunger pains at school. In the afternoon, snacks can be as easy as yogurt, cut up fresh fruits, nuts or trail mix (which can be made inexpensively at home), celery with peanut butter, hummus or cheese cubes.
In our Honest Greens Bermuda recipe book (https://bit.ly/2WzTjf5), we have instructions for an easy, delicious and kid-friendly smoothie using cinnamon basil. Try it out with your kids and see how they like it!
Cinnamon Basil Smoothie
2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
2 cups milk, coconut milk, or almond milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2-4 fresh basil leaves (can be regular or any variety, cinnamon basil makes the flavor more intense) honey to taste
1. Place oats in a blender and pulse until powdery. 2. Peel the mango and cut in half, discarding the pit. Chop and place in a blender. 3. Add milk, cinnamon, basil, honey, and ice. Blend until smooth.
Honest Greens Bermuda provides weekly, contactless delivery of fresh, locally grown specialty greens and culinary herbs. No GMO’s. No Toxic chemicals. No Crap. Yes Delicious!
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