School’s just started in 2021 and there’s no better time than now to think about what to feed your young ones to help them concentrate better and excel in school. Busy working mums will have one less thing to worry about knowing they can order in nutritious meals for the family. So, cut the mom guilt over not serving up home-cooked meals and tap on a useful lists of restaurants that deliver islandwide around Singapore.
Apart from educational mind-bending games, nutrition is just as important when it comes to nurturing their brains. Foods that contain antioxidants, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates are all exceptionally advantageous in boosting brain health. While a constant diet of brain food is not a foolproof method to ensure your child will grow up to score impeccable grades and enter an Ivy League institution, including these key nutrients in their diet is certainly a wise start! As psychiatrist Drew Ramsey and author of The Happiness Diet adds, “These years are critical for brain development, and what they eat affects focus and cognitive skills.”
Now that your kids are back to the grind, order these top six brain foods from restaurants on Oddle Eats to help them stay sharp and their brains to blossom.
Eggs are not only affordable and easily available, but they are positively packed with protein and nutrients which can aid in concentration. Egg yolks contain choline, an essential component of cell membranes that that body uses to generate important neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters fire up the nerves and help to carry messages around the body. Choline plays a vital role in the brain development of an infant and augments mental performance. Since eggs are a tremendous source of protein, they help to keep children satiated for a longer period of time so they won’t feel hungry and restless during lessons.
Smashed Avo & Eggs sandwich ($16) from Riders Cafe. Stacked with poached eggs and a blanket of avocado, with a sprinkling of crushed hazelnuts (high in vitamin E, also a brain food!)
Never underestimate the importance of fat in relation to brain health. A full-fat Greek yoghurt (which contains more protein than other yoghurts) can keep brain cells in optimal form for sending and receiving information around the body. Apart from yoghurt, other dairy products like milk and cheese contain protein and vitamin B that are essential for the development of brain tissue, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. In addition, milk is often fortified with vitamin D too! The benefits include enhancing the neuromuscular system and the overall life cycle of human cells. Research has shown that children and teenagers require at least 10 times more vitamin D than adults, so ensure your child’s diet has a good boost of this.
“Milk and yoghurt also provide a bigger punch with both protein and carbohydrates—the preferred source of energy for the brain,” says Bethany Thayer, a Detroit nutritionist and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
Some parents may frown on getting young children hooked on bubble tea, but it’s really about making healthy choices. Touting drinks made with the freshest milk and natural ingredients, Milksha offers a few caffeine-free drinks that are kid-friendly. The Valrhona 100% Cocoa Milk ($5.50) is made with fresh milk and Valrhona powder with no added sugar. A fancier chocolate milk that’s equally tempting for adults!
For an on-the-go breakfast option or a midday snack, order a batch of Fresh Sogurt Smoothies ($8.20) from Kara by Sogurt for your child (and the whole family!). It’s made with Sogurt’s signature froyo loaded with healthy live cultures, fresh fruits, milk and honey. And there are no syrup or preservatives added.
Fish that is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA can boost brain growth and performance, as well as protect the brain from mental decline. Lee Sze Mien, a dietician at Mount Elizabeth Hospital Singapore, recommends consuming salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and sardines. Since the brain consists of 60 per cent fat, experts say these omega-3 fatty acids can also aid neurological development and help counteract memory loss. Scientific research has also ascertained that people who maintain a diet rich in fatty acids generally score better in IQ tests. Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It says, “The more omega-3s we can get to the brain, the better it will function, and the better kids will be able to focus.”
With an entire day packed to the brim with lessons and activities, most kids feel exhausted even before lunch break. Oatmeal and whole grains are fantastic sources of fibre that will keep kids full and help them maintain high levels of energy. As opposed to sugary treats which can cause sudden spikes in blood sugar levels (leading to a crash in energy), oatmeal is a nutritious “grain for the brain” that regulates the release of glucose into the blood. The brain needs a constant supply of glucose, and this fibre will help to modulate it.
With greater levels of sustained energy, kids will be able to concentrate fully in school. Furthermore, oatmeal is packed with nutrients like vitamins E and B, potassium and zinc. These are vital for the brain to operate at its best. Los Angeles nutritionist Andrea Giancoli explains, “Whole grains also have B-vitamins, which nourish a healthy nervous system.”
Iron helps to supply fresh oxygen to the brain, and a lack of iron can engender cognitive and attention deficit. This essential mineral helps kids stay alert and concentrate at school. Lean meat (or meat alternatives) contain both iron and zinc, which supports communication between the nervous system. Zinc is also purported to increase memory power.
For vegetarians, soy burgers are great iron-rich meat alternatives. For another meatless source of iron, consider spinach — it’s full of nonhdme iron. Dietician Lee Sze Mien also recommends consuming iron together with vitamin C. This “will help them to be absorbed efficiently”.
The richer and deeper the colour of the vegetables, the more antioxidants they contain. These antioxidants are the secret to keeping brain cells strong and healthy. Examples of vegetables rich in antioxidants are tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots.
Apart from vegetables, some fruits such as berries are rich in antioxidants too. Blueberries and strawberries both contain anthocyanins and other flavonoids, which also have anti-inflammatory properties. Excessive oxidative stress and inflammation can have deleterious effects on neurological processes. Lee Sze Mien concludes saying, “Eating a diet rich in antioxidant foods can therefore help combat mental decline.” Some studies have also reported improvements in memory after consuming blueberries and strawberries. Sarah Krieger, an American health consultant says, “The seeds from berries are also a good source of omega-3 fats.”