BrainFood – What are you feeding your TODDLER’s Brain?

As moms of toddlers one of our biggest battles is getting our rugrats to eat a nutritionally healthy meal. Between the supermarket snack aisle and the average fastfood nugget meal with interesting apple slices, making sure our little ones are getting what they need daily to ensure they are growing physically and mentally, is one of mom’s toughest jobs.  From the time our babies leave the comfort of our bellies to 3 years old, BABIES will have doubled their height and tripled their weight, but did you realize that your baby’s brain will also grow 85% ?  So you feed your mini-me the protein, carbs and fats needed to develop their growing body, but what are you FEEDING YOUR BABY’S BRAIN???

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According to “Food for the Brain,” 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 behavior. – See more at: http://www.foodforthebrain.org/smart-kids/how-to-build-a-healthy-brain.aspx#sthash.w09Bw6KK.dpuf.

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To make sure that babies get enough essential fats, get them to eat plenty of seeds and nuts – grind and sprinkle them on cereal, soups and salads.  Here is a general list for sources of essential fats according to the same site:

Mackerel, Flaxseeds, Sunflower seeds, Herring, Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Sardines, Chia seeds, Walnuts, Anchovies, Omega 3 rich Eggs, Tuna steak and Salmon.  – See more at: http://www.foodforthebrain.org/smart-kids/how-to-build-a-healthy-brain.aspx#sthash.w09Bw6KK.dpuf

BUT LET’S GET REAL, how many of our littles are having salmon for dinner?  As of mom of 3, working full time for my employer, helping with the family business, volunteering on the School Board, running kids between after-school activities, cooking up an organic, fully balanced and nutritional meal, usually falls to the end of my to-do list, unfortunately just above the “Go to Gym” item.

While our babies are teeny and either breast-fed or fed certain formulas, they are hopefully getting clinically proven high-levels of DHA.  Note: research how much DHA is in your baby’s formula.  DHA is defined by Wikipedia as: “Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human braincerebral cortexskinspermtesticles and retina. It can be synthesized from alpha-linolenic acid or obtained directly from maternal milk or fish oil.[1] DHA’s structure is a carboxylic acid (-oic acid) with a 22-carbon chain(docosa- is Greek for 22) and six (hexa-cis double bonds (-en-);[2] with the first double bond located at the third carbon from the omega end.[3] Its trivial name iscervonic acid, its systematic name is all-cis-docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexa-enoic acid, and its shorthand name is 22:6(n-3) in the nomenclature of fatty acids.

Cold-water oceanic fish oils are rich in DHA. Most of the DHA in fish and multi-cellular organisms with access to cold-water oceanic foods originates from photosynthetic and heterotrophic microalgae, and becomes increasingly concentrated in organisms the further they are up the food chain. DHA is also commercially manufactured from microalgae.”

DHA supplementation is also vital while mommy is preggo with baby.  Talk with your OB/GYN about your prenatals to ensure you are receiving sufficient DHA to make a clinical difference for you and your baby.

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When a baby is fed high levels of DHA, those similar to breast fed babies, there is clinical data showing that those babies score higher on certain tests, improved problem solving skills and have improved visual acuity (vision) than babies of the same age.

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There are ways to ensure our kiddos are getting all of this, but you must talk with your pediatrician to see what is best, and there are so many resources online to help educate parents on what can be provided for our tiny chickens to give them the best.

In the meanwhile, take a deep breath and if your kiddo gets their nutrition by eating cheerios from the crevices in the couch or capri-sun while bussing the older siblings to soccer/football/baseball/volleyball/basketball/guitar/tutoring/singing/tumbling or whatever other activity our kiddos or we enjoy.  We do our best and our kiddos love us regardless, ONLY FOR US MOMS, is it a battle every day – Keep Fighting the Good Fight MOMS!!! #keepinitreal #momsrock #brainfood #DHA #snacks #momof3 #toddlernutrition #workingmomproblems #feedtheirbrains

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