As a mom, I’m always concerned about the health of my boys — but not just their physical fitness. With kids back in school, the focus is now on their mental toughness. You want to be sure they’re getting the nutrients their growing brains need to absorb every ounce of information (hey, a Mom can dream, right?).
Speaking of dreams, essential fatty acids (EFAs) are the dream team of nutrients when it comes to overall health. They are considered essential, because they cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through foods or supplements. So, what does this mean for you and your little ones? Take a lesson in the ABCs of EFAs…
A is for attitude adjustment
The most well-studied EFAs are EPA and DHA — two types of omega-3 fatty acids. These are known to support a healthy mood. Though eating fish may not make your kids jump for joy, a chewable fish oil supplement could be easier to get down. Supplements are a great alternative not only for their convenience and fish-free taste but because they don’t contain the high levels of mercury found in some fresh fish. Now, that’s something to smile about!
B is for brain health
DHA, specifically, has shown to be very important in brain function and development. Make sure you start your little ones on a DHA supplement or omega-rich diet at a young age. When you establish this “essential” habit early, you help guarantee their growing brains are set for success through their school years and beyond! You can get your family fueled on the good fats at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here are a few ideas to get your brain thinking:
Breakfast — Flax seeds sprinkled on top of a yogurt parfait or blended into a fruit smoothie
Lunch — A peanut-free PB&J made with NuttZo Organic Omega-3 Seven Nut and Seed Butter and kid-approved strawberry jam
Snack time — Nut and seed nutrition bars like KIND Plus Omega-3 Almond & Cashew Bars are convenient when you’re on the run
Dinner — An “eggcellent” quiche is quick and easy to throw together any week night. Mix eggs and almond milk together in a bowl. Layer spinach greens on the bottom of a greased, 9-inch baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach, top it with low-fat shredded cheese and any other veggies your family likes and bake at 350 F degrees for 30 minutes.
C is for comforted joints
EFAs help maintain the integrity of joint cartilage, so the body stays flexible and limber — no matter your age. Even though kids may be as flexible as Gumby, things change in time. As our bones grow and our weight rises a tad each year, the stress on our joints increases. Add any type of regular physical activity and you’re going to want all the support you can get. That’s why you want to be sure to keep the entire family moving easy with essential fatty acids from fish, flax seeds, supplements and more!
Jennifer Nicole Lee is an international fitness model, best-selling author and motivational speaker who has appeared on Oprah, CBS The Early Show, Inside Edition, E! Entertainment and Fox and Friends. She is the author of the The Fun Fit Foodie Cookbook and was named one of the “Three Top Females in the Fitness Industry” of 2011 by Yahoo Sports. Check out her health and fitness tip videos exclusively on the Vitacost Live Wire.