Foods that boost brain development in children

What your children eat in the first five years is crucial to their development.

In fact, a recent report revealed a lack of nutrients during this time may affect children cognitively and socially.

While the benefits of eating healthy are a given, Bellamy’s ambassador, pediatric nutritionist and dietician Susie Burrell says teaching children about nutrition now is “especially important in shaping small children's food habits long term.”

She adds that a lack of the right food in children under five can affect them in several ways.

"It is likely to be several interrelated factors. However, one of the key ones is that a diet low in essential nutrients including fatty acids, good quality proteins and micronutrients directly impacts cognitive development,” she says.

Despite many thinking eating healthy is more expensive, Burrell says it doesn’t have to be.

"Eating well comes down to food planning, smart shopping and knowing where to get your essential nutrients for less,” says Burrell. “For example, try tinned salmon and frozen vegetables instead of fresh – to help reduce weekly costs. Also, try to make protein go the distance and utilise nutrient rich foods such as eggs, turkey and legumes. “

What types of foods should parents be feeding their kids to boost brain development?

“Important foods to boost brain development include fish for omega 3's, zinc and iodine; and good quality protein via lean meat, turkey and eggs,” Burrell says. “Feeding your kids whole grains such as brown bread, oats and legumes for fibre, amino acids and energy, is also extremely important for boosting brain development.”