Our brains need help getting started in the morning. While you were sleeping, your brain was actually very active. New research has determined the ‘glymphatic’ system, which is like a lymphatic system for your brain, spends the night cleaning toxins that can lead to inflammation and decrease brain functioning. Also, your brain cycles through sleep cycles, which helps organize thoughts and memories. We have blogged before on good sleep and bedtime habits before, but creating a good bedtime routine can optimize the quality of sleep your brain is able to get, and therefore improve its functioning in the morning.
With stress and the demands of our lives, and the lives of our children, giving our brains the right nutrition to start is necessary. So many of us start our days with screens, constant emails, and racing not to be late. By feeding our brain the right foods, and modeling this for our children, we are able to teach them how to take care of themselves as this world continues to place its demands on us.
Since your brain has been working hard all night, it is going to be dehydrated in the morning. Make a family game out of drinking a nice tall glass of water (about 8-10 ounces) first thing. If you are able to add lemon to the water, even better, as lemon serves as a detoxifying agent. And remember: your brain has spent the whole night cleaning itself! This water not only helps replenish your brain, but release the toxins that can create a foggy outlook and difficulty with focusing.
Your brain also needs some energy, and while recent research suggests that fasting may help our bodies, I don’t recommend doing this with children. Give yourself enough time in the morning to make breakfast for your child, or have your caregiver make them breakfast. You can prep waffles, muffins, bread, etc., ahead of time and leave it in the freezer to defrost.
Starting the day with protein and healthy fats are much better than a carb-heavy breakfast. Carbs turn into sugar the minute our tongues break down the ingredients, so adding a protein and a fat is ideal. Pinterest has a number of great breakfast recipes for kids, but here are some ideas that may work for you.
– French Toast (made with an extra egg)
– Avocado Toast
– Scrambled Eggs
– Peanut Butter or Almond Butter with Fruit
– Waffles (made with almond flour)
– Oatmeal or Overnight Oats with Nut Butter/Sunflower Seed Butter
– Muffins (baked with cassava or almond flour)
– Smoothies (with a plant-based protein powder)
– Energy Balls
– Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos
Here are some other links to great breakfast ideas:
The switch to a higher protein, higher fat diet can be a challenge at first, but once you are able to establish a good solid routine, and some recipes that work well for your family, things will be easier. The change to a healthier diet is really noticeable quickly; you may start to get emails from teachers that your child’s focus is better, they are calmer and more regulated, or you may notice your kids are less hungry later on because protein and fat can delay a blood sugar crash!
Try some of these ideas, or recipes, and let us know how it’s affecting your family! Send us an email to email@example.com we’ll share you experience with our community!
Behaved Brain Wellness Center
Healthier Kids – Happier Parents