If you’re not sure whether your child’s diet is supporting their brain health, take our free online Child Questionnaire and in 5 minutes you can view a personalised summary on how to optimise their diet to boost brain health, learning and development.
Food for the Brain encourages Four Golden Rules to help your child build a healthy brain. Learn about key nutrients to support optimal learning and development, as well as how to avoid hidden sugars, how to identify food allergies and which supplements can give an extra boost for the brain, alongside a healthy diet.
Key dietary steps to support learning and development
Balanced Blood Sugar
Choose slow-releasing carbohydrates and combine with protein.
Sugar is your brain’s super fuel. But you have to make sure your child is getting the RIGHT TYPES and RIGHT AMOUNT at the RIGHT TIME.
Too much ‘fast’ sugar means a blood sugar high and hyperactivity. The excess sugar in the blood gets dumped into storage as abdominal fat. Eating little and often helps keep your child’s energy and concentration even.
Too much sugar and your child may be hyperactive and find it hard to concentrate.
Too little and they may feel tired, irritable and find it hard to concentrate.
Choose slow-releasing carbohydrates and combine with protein
How to balance blood sugar?
Choose slow-releasing carbohydrates
Vegetables (Excluding potatoes and parsnips)
Whole wheat pasta
Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day
This will help to maintain your blood sugar levels, and prevent highs and lows.
Combine protein with carbohydrate
Protein slows down the absorption of sugars found in carbohydrates.
Oats with nuts and seeds or plain yoghurt
Berries with plain natural yoghurt
Wholemeal toast and an egg
Wholemeal toast with sardines
Crudites with hummus dip
Oat cakes and cottage cheese or hummus dip
Ensure Healthy Fats
Eat oily fish 2-3 times a week or, if vegetarian/vegan, eat flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts on a daily basis.
60% of a dried brain weight is fat, it is no wonder deficiencies in specific kinds of fats can have huge repercussions on intelligence and behaviour.
If your child is having 3 portions of oily fish and a daily portion of seeds they should be getting a good level to help their brains develop and boost IQ.
How do I give my child all the essential fats they need?
Eat plenty of seeds and nuts
You can grind and sprinkle them on cereal, soups and salads.
Source of essential fats:
Omega 3 rich eggs
Eat cold-water carnivorous fish 2 or 3 times a week
This includes sardines, mackerel, herring, kipper or wild/organic salmon.
Choose fish oil and starflower or evening primrose oil to supplement fats
Avoid deep fried, browned and processed foods
Eat Vegetables on a Daily Basis
Make sure you’re given your child at least 5 portions of vegetables a day.
Why does your child need vitamins and minerals?
Vitamins and minerals are the intelligent nutrients that keep the brain in tune. They are key to building and rebuilding the brain. They mainly come from vegetables, fruit and wholefoods and can be supplemented for optimum brain performance.
How do I ensure that my child is having enough?
Make sure that they eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
Choose wholefoods, not refined foods
Give them a chewable multi-vitamin and mineral supplements.
Avoid Anti-Nutrients and Identify Food Allergies
Avoid refined sugar, damaged fats and food additives
Which foods rob your child’s brain of nutrients?
Anti-nutrients are substances that knock out essential brain-friendly nutrients. Some children develop an allergy or intolerance against particular foods.
How do I avoid anti-nutrients?
Avoid or minimise:
Refined sugar: These are essentially carbohydrates robbed of essential nutrients.
Damaged fats: These come from fried foods and hydrogenated fats.
Chemical food additives: Especially colourings.
As many as one in five adults and children, and probably one in three with behavioural problems, react allergically to common foods such as milk, wheat, yeast and eggs. The knowledge that allergy to foods and chemicals can adversely affect moods and behaviour in children has been known, and ignored, for a very long time.