It’s Back to School time again. Time to ditch the “summer brain” and get ready to focus and pay attention in class. Eating Omega 3 rich foods can literally feed our brains, to help kids stay on task at school. Unfortunately, many Americans do not get enough omega 3s in their diet.
One of the best sources of omega 3s is fish, especially fatty fish like salmon or tuna. Tuna salad is a great option for the lunchbox because it offers a mid-day brain boost. Roll it up into a wrap, or serve it with crackers. But big fish like tuna can be high in mercury, so Wild Planet brand tuna is a good choice, because it is sustainably caught, has half the amount of mercury, and a higher omega 3 content compared to other brands. Sustainably caught fish is better for the environment and our health. Additionally, tuna is a good source of protein and Vitamin B6. People with focus or sleep issues tend to be B6 deficient and can also benefit from foods rich in B6.
Walter Willet of Harvard Health recommends that we have fish or fish oils a few times a week, and a vegetarian omega 3 source every day. One of the best vegan sources for omega 3s are chia seeds – because in addition to the omega 3s, these little seeds offers so much more. Chia seeds fill you up, offer lasting energy/endurance, and form a gel which helps to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. In addition, chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants & minerals. Chia doesn’t really taste like anything and can be easily added to many foods. Top your oatmeal, boost your smoothies, or add to your baking. I also like to make a quick chia pudding – just add a couple Tablespoons of chia seeds to a half cup of your favorite non-dairy milk (I like coconut), add a little vanilla, and a touch of your favorite all natural sweetener (like agave or stevia), stir well, and let it thicken for a few minutes.
Taking a supplement can help kids get their omega 3s before school. Kids love the taste of Barleans Omega Swirl, a delicious omega 3 supplement that tastes like a smoothie, with no hint of fish taste. Omega Swirls comes in a variety of flavors, and they also offer vegan options made with flax oil. Omega Swirls are great added to smoothies or yogurt, or right from the spoon, they even come in convenient to go packets. Fish get their omega 3s from algae, and so can we. Omega to Go is a orange flavored drink packet that contains vegetarian omega 3s sourced from life’sDHA™ algae. Omega to Go are low in sugar (less than 1 g.), contain fiber and antioxidants, and no artificial colors – making them an excellent brain-boosting alternative to the typical flavored drink packets. Pop one in their lunchbox to add to their water for a mid-day boost.
Read Five Foods for Focus to learn about several other foods to boost focus, and some additional supplements that can improve brain function and help kids stay on task. Also, watch this segment on Fox 5 San Diego featuring brain boosting foods for kids’ lunchbox.
Sara Vance is a Clinical Nutritionist in the Encinitas, CA area. Visit rebalancelife.com for more information. Friend Sara Vance at ReBalance Life on Facebook.
*This content is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons experiencing problems or with questions about their health or medications, should consult their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before taking the above foods, herbs, vitamins or supplements to be sure there are no interactions.
©2012, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.