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Power Your Child's Brain with a Smart Breakfast

  • Published: 2010-08-11 : Author: NUTRITION HOUSE CANADA INC.
  • Synopsis: Breakfast before school should provide children with essential nutrients vitamins and minerals to support their growing minds bodies and health needs.

Main Document

As the lazy days of summer vacation begin to come to a close, it's time to start thinking about re-formulating and re-energizing morning rituals that can help boost your child's learning potential.

So, what can parents do to make sure that their children "have it all" - sharper mental and physical alertness, improved attention and mood, not to mention overall better health? It's not that complicated to do. It's about enriching one thing - breakfast.

Most children eat something in the morning before school, but that "something" doesn't necessarily provide them with the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support their growing minds, bodies and health needs. According to a 2008 National Marketing Institute study, almost 30% of parents say they constantly struggle with trying to get their children to eat healthy. Twenty-five percent admit that they are not usually successful in getting their children proper nutrition daily. And research shows that undernourishment during any period of childhood, even for relatively short-term periods, can have a negative effect on cognitive development.

Forget the Marketing Hype, Look to the Science.

We are bombarded by marketing hyperbole: cereals that profess to be nutritional powerhouses, albeit loaded with sugar or fructose; energy drinks and juices that are beginning to make the headlines because of their excessive use of stimulating ingredients; and other convenient yet not-so-good foods that fill children's bellies.

And we know that protein, fats and carbohydrates are important. But within each of these macro-nutrient categories, there are more nutritious choices over others.

Pouring your child a glass of milk in the morning? Good start, but why not enhance milk's health benefits by including whey protein powder as well. Whey is an exceptional dietary protein choice, derived from milk, for all ages and stages of your growing child. Whey is used in infant formulas where top-notch nutrition is essential. Not only is whey an excellent source of calcium, but it also contains macro- and micro-fractions that are established immune-enhancing constituents that improve healthy body composition and lean tissue mass, and help to prevent cardiovascular disease.

A Brain Teaser or Pleaser

Fish oils are the top performers in the healthy fat category, specifically for their EPA and DHA content. These essential fatty acids profoundly influence the overall development and health of the human body. That they are considered brain pleaser's is to say the least.

In particular, DHA from omega-3 is a key building block for a healthy brain. This major structural fat supports brain and nervous system health, vision acuity, and mood. It is required in high levels to provide the necessary nutrients for optimal brain functioning, including learning ability and mental development.

Because these EFAs are inadequately supplied in most Canadian diets, especially teenagers', the healthy fat ratio is desperately skewed and out of balance, making a supplemental source of these omega-3 fish oils a necessity for the majority of the population.

But, as most of us can attest to, it's already hard enough to get kids to eat healthy without adding fish oil to the battle. But there is an easy way. Simply combine the milk of your choice (regular, almond, rice, etc.) with a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder. Add some fresh or frozen fruit (banana, strawberries, blueberries, etc.) along with a dose of liquid, flavored fish oil. (Yes, fish oil can actually taste good!). Blend together. And in less than two minutes, you have a recipe for mental and physical performance success. Even the pickiest eaters will love this early morning shake. Flavors and ingredients can be modified; for example, chocolate whey protein with banana and peanut butter, a kid's favorite. Then take a serving of yogurt, and stir in the fish oil and a scoop of whey protein for a tasty breakfast pudding. Add a few berries and/or sprinkle of granola. The choices and combinations are only limited by your imagination.

Smart food, smart brains.

Nutrition House carries a full line-up of various brands of high-potency omega-3s and whey protein to choose from. With some planning and creativity, picky eaters' breakfasts can be taste-pleasing, highly nutritious, and fast. And from a parent's perspective, knowing that you have delivered a powerhouse of nutrients at the start of your children's day that provides them optimal functioning of the body and brain, is a healthy way to give yourself peace of mind.

Michele Sevier Biography - Michele Sevier, DNM, DAc, is an educator and advocate of natural health and healing. As an independent adviser to Nutrition House, she is actively involved in many facets of integrative medicine including research, the formulation of specialized supplements, and providing natural health solutions to the general public through Nutrition House's 'Ask Our Expert' service at www.nutritionhouse.com

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