Research has shown that kids who eat breakfast perform better in school – they can concentrate more easily and have improved memory. So, set your children up for success with these foods to give them sustained fuel throughout the day:
- Eggs: Aside from having protein, eggs are also important for kids because the yolks are an excellent source of choline, a B vitamin that is especially important in childhood for healthy brain and liver development and memory. For picky eaters, make eggs more appealing by scrambling them with cheese or serving them in the form of a breakfast sandwich. Other excellent sources of choline – though perhaps less amenable to the young palette – are tofu, beans, Brussels sprouts, yogurt and lean beef. Buckwheat is also an excellent source of choline – use it to make pancakes or waffles, which kids typically love.
- Whole-grain cereal or oatmeal: These breakfast or anytime foods are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fiber and are kid-friendly foods. Even the pickiest kids like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so put tasty, natural ingredients between whole-grain bread.
- Leafy greens: It's hard to get kids, and even some adults, to eat leafy greens. But they provide plenty of iron, which is good for brain development. Try to hide spinach in a "green smoothie," mixed with berries, Greek yogurt, honey, other fruit and ice. You can even name it to make it more appealing to children.
- Berries: It's often pretty easy to get kids to eat berries, which have important antioxidants that have been shown to improve memory. However, if you have a particularly picky eater, smoothies are always the way to go when it comes to berries.
- Bright veggies: These also have antioxidants important for brain health. If you can't find other ways to get your kids to eat them, bake them as fun and tasty veggie chips.