(BPT) – As summer draws to an end, many families are gearing up for an exciting new school year. And while picking out new pencils and notebooks is a fun way to prepare, it’s even more important to make sure your child is mentally ready to return to the classroom — whether that be virtually or in person.
“To help them stay focused and learn more efficiently, fuel your kids with foods that are scientifically proven to boost focus and improve brain performance,” says Marissa Meshulam, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and founder of MPM Nutrition. Instead of stocking up on sugary cereals and processed meals, Meshulam shares her go-to foods for feeding little minds:
Strong evidence suggests that blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berries have beneficial effects on the brain. Their high levels of antioxidants help protect and boost memory functioning. Try sending the kids off to school with a berry smoothie or pack a fruit cup with berries for lunch to help keep their minds sharp throughout the day.
A versatile and easy option for any healthy, filling meal, eggs contain a variety of nutrients such as choline and lutein that are essential for brain health. To ensure your family is getting the most out of their favorite egg-centric snack or recipe, choose Eggland’s Best eggs. Compared to ordinary eggs, EB eggs contain more than double the Vitamin B12 and Omega-3s, which help regulate sugar levels in the brain and can improve memory function.
Most nuts have brain-boosting benefits, but walnuts are especially high in Omega-3s, Vitamin E, antioxidants and folate content. Nuts make a great snack and also pair well with fruit or as part of a granola.
Avocados have nutrients that protect the nerve cells in the brain that carry information. Try spreading avocado on a sandwich for lunch or mashing up with some garlic, salt, chopped tomatoes and lemon juice for a quick dip with chips or veggies for an after-school snack.
5. Leafy greens
Leafy-green vegetables are rich in so many vitamins, including Vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene, which all contribute to healthy brain functioning. If you have trouble getting your kids to eat fruits and veggies, try sneaking them into smoothies or blended soups.
Looking for recipe inspiration? Try this nutrient-filled breakfast that will help fuel your kids for a successful day of learning at school.
Berry Exciting French Toast Panzanella
2 large Eggland’s Best eggs
8 slices of thick bread
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon milk
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup granola
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
Cooking spray for griddle pan and sheet pan
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla, almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until combined.
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Heat a griddle pan on medium heat. Spray the griddle with cooking spray.
Dip 4 slices of bread into the egg mixture separately then place on the griddle pan. Cook about 4 minutes each side or until golden brown. Spray the griddle again and repeat steps with last 4 slices of bread.
Treat large cooking sheet with cooking spray. Cut each bread slice into large cubes. Place the bread cubes single layer on the treated pan. Lightly spray the bread cubes with cooking spray.
Bake 10 minutes, then flip the cubes and continue baking for 5 more minutes.
Make the glaze by mixing the confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup and milk in a small bowl.
Using a large serving bowl, toss the bread cubes and granola. Drizzle the maple glaze and toss again until bread cubes and granola are lightly coated. Add all the berries and toss until combined. Top with almonds. Serve immediately.