A Harvard nutritionist shares 6 brain foods that will help your kids stay 'sharp and focused'

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The first few years of life set the foundation for brain health. Studies show that a nutritious diet in infancy is key to promoting a child’s long-term well-being, and the foods they eat can impact their cognition, temperament, motor skills and language development.

As a nutritional psychiatrist, I’ve found that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, iron, iodine, zinc, choline and vitamins A, B12 and D support brain function, behavior and learning. Avoiding processed foods with added sugars is also key.

Children can be picky, so parents will have to get creative. Here are six brain foods that will help your kids stay sharp and focused:

1. Superfood smoothies

2. Homemade veggie fries

Eating a colorful variety of vegetables is so important for getting enough fiber and phytonutrients, as well as fueling both gut health and mental health.

Air fryer ovens add a crispy, crunchy texture to food without deep frying. Use it to make zucchini, carrot or green bean “fries.”

Then top the vegetables with a pinch of black pepper and turmeric, rosemary, oregano, parsley or thyme to add flavor.

3. Homemade hummus

Legumes are healthy, plant-based sources of iron, zinc, protein and fiber, benefitting brain development.

Homemade hummus is a versatile way to incorporate legumes into your child’s diet. It can be served in so many ways, such as a dip paired with apple slices, carrot sticks, thinly sliced celery or sugar snap peas.

Adding some color to your hummus can make it more appealing to kids. Think: a bright orange carrot hummus or a deep-purple beet hummus topped with a monster face made out of vegetables.

4. Salmon

5. Eggs

Whole eggs are an excellent source of brain-boosting vitamins A, D and B12, along with choline. Choline is especially important for young children, as it has been shown to improve brain development and long-term memory.

I recommend buying pastured eggs: One study found that pastured eggs can have twice as much vitamin E and almost three times as many omega-3s as caged eggs.

6. Meatballs

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