Brain Boosting Foods for Kids + Easy Recipes - Baby Chick

Brain Boosting Foods for Kids + Easy Recipes

These brain boosting foods for kids will help your littles to feel their best. Plus, easy recipes to help provide these essential nutrients.

Published June 19, 2019

by Kate Horney

Certified Pre and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, Nutrition Coach

Nutrition for your children directly affects IQ, learning, concentration, sleep, and behavior. Just as athletes eat a diet to win, children can eat to learn. Foods that contain antioxidants, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates are all particularly helpful in boosting brain power.

Here are some of my food tips to give your children a brain-power boost and some of my favorite recipes!

Brain-Boosting Foods for Kids: Blueberries

Blueberries have the highest antioxidants concentration compared to any other fruits or vegetables. Blueberries contain powerful anthocyanins, which Tufts University has connected with improved short term memory performance and attention to tasks. A study showed superior memory test results for kids consuming blueberries than children who are not consuming berries. (2, 3)

The benefits of regular berry consumption also extend to adults, with berry consumption linked to decreasing the aging process, potentially preventing dementia. These are a great sweet treat that kids either love or will learn to love with a little effort. (1)

Blueberries’ benefits can be enjoyed year-round with frozen blueberries, which tend to be cheaper and do not lose their potency.

Pineapple Blueberry Smoothie Bowl

Brain Boosting Foods for Kids + Easy Recipes


  • Serves 1, double to serve a teen or very hungry kid
  • 3/4 cup of frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup of milk of choice


  • Add frozen pineapple and blueberries to the blender and blend at low speed until fruit is cut into tiny chunks (about the size of a rice grain).
  • Add optional kids protein powder and milk and blend until nice and smooth.
  • Scoop into a bowl, add top with blueberries, chia seeds, and almonds.

Purple Power Shake

Healthy diet forest berry smoothie with chia seeds.


  • Serves 1-2
  • ½ cup of blueberries or blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • ½ medium banana
  • 1 cup of chilled water or milk of choice


  • Blend on high for 30-60 seconds.

Brain-Boosting Foods for Kids: Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a good source of omega-3. They are also high in antioxidants and minerals, and vitamins–perfect support for brain health. Nuts also are a good source of vitamin E, which protects brain cell membranes from free radical damage. (4) Walnuts are particularly beneficial for brain health with very high concentrations of DHA, a type of omega 3 acid that has been shown to improve cognitive performance. (5) Just ¼ cup of walnuts delivers 100% of the recommended daily intake of DHA. Cashews and sunflower seeds contain amino acids that help boost serotonin levels and relieve stress.

Try this yummy walnut recipe:

Walnut + Date Energy Balls

energy granola bites


  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of chopped dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pure almond extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Optional 1/2 cup of roughly chopped walnuts


  • Place oats into a food processor or blender and pulverize.
  • Add other ingredients and pulse until combined.
  • Divide into 8 portions and roll into balls.

Brain-Boosting Foods for Kids: Avocados

Besides being my favorite food, avocados are one of the best foods you can give your child to improve their overall health. Packed with good monounsaturated fats, avocados can help keep blood sugar levels steady and improve memory and cognitive function. (6) The creaminess of avocados makes them the perfect smoothie add-in. My kids love to eat avocado in guacamole and as a topping for healthy toast.

Super Nutrient Chocolate Milk

Vegan avocado chocolate smoothie with almond nuts


  • Serves 1-2
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • 1 cup of chilled water or milk of choice


  • Blend on high for 60 seconds to make really frothy.
  • Serve immediately.

Brain-Boosting Foods for Kids: Beets

The thought of feeding your kids beets may seem scary, but with such fantastic health benefits, it’s worth the try. Just don’t feed them beets in white clothes! Beets contain vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, manganese, folate, soluble fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and antioxidants. (7) These nutrient powerhouses have many benefits, such as boosting natural energy levels, preventing inflammation, and increasing blood flow to the brain, helping with mental performance.

Here are two great kid-approved beet recipes.

Beet Bounty Balls

Homemade vegan coconut beetroot energy balls


  • 2 1/2 cups of shredded coconut
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste.
  • 1 tablespoon of raw beetroot


  • Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined.
  • Roll into balls. Extra coconut for dusting is optional. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Beet Brain Booster Smoothie

Close Up of Healthy Fresh Beet Juice


  • 1 cup of water or milk of choice
  • 1/4 raw beet
  • 1/2 raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)


  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

This is a great way to boost brain power before school.

Brain-Boosting Foods for Kids: Dark, Leafy Greens and Cruciferous Vegetables

Spinach and leafy greens like kale, chard, romaine, and collards are rich in folate, iron, B vitamins, and magnesium. All of these nutrients are essential to increasing your brain power. Also, they contain carotenoids, which are powerful brain protectors.

While getting your children to eat lots of greens may often seem incredibly difficult, there are some simple ways to do it. My kids’ favorite is including some greens into a smoothie or shake. Here’s a great smoothie recipe they will love:

Green Smoothie

Green smoothies with kale, banana and lemon


  • Serves 2
  • 1/2 cup of mango
  • 1/2 cup of banana
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted macadamia nuts (can substitute with cashews)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup of ice


  • Blend on high until smooth.

PRO TIP: School mornings are crazy, so I like to do our green smoothie prep ahead of time. Layer all of the fresh ingredients in a mason jar, put on the lid, and freeze. Then, take the jar out 15 minutes before you want to make your shake to slightly thaw. Next, place ingredients in the blender with your optional protein powder and liquid. Healthy food can be fast too.

Brain-Boosting Foods for Kids: Oats

Oats are complex carbohydrates that provide the fuel that the brain needs. This is opposed to simple sugars (pop drinks, candy, etc.) that create blood sugar highs and lows, which are not suitable for concentration and sustained energy. Complex carbohydrates have fiber and provide a slower, steadier energy release to your child. Also, the complex carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which the brain needs to function. Most importantly, this slow release helps stabilize blood sugars and maintain concentration and attention. Oats are also full of B vitamins and folate, which have a strong link to increased memory function.

Here are two fantastic breakfast or snack recipes that feature oats:

Super Nutrition Pancakes

Banana Oat Pancakes


  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 4 scoops of protein powder


Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on medium speed until combined. Then cook on a hot griddle and enjoy.

Creamy Raspberry Breakfast Shake

Fruit smoothie with raspberries


  • Serves 1-2 for breakfast
  • 4 scoops of strawberry flavored protein powder
  • ½ cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 avocado (optional)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • 5 cubes of ice
  • 1 cup water or milk of choice


  • Blend on high for 30-60 seconds.

Brain-Boosting Foods for Kids: Water/ Hydration

Not drinking enough water has detrimental effects on our brains. And when your body lacks water, brain cells and other neurons shrink, and biochemical processes involved in cellular communication can slow. Water is excellent for memory sharpness and to help keep moods stable. Dehydration makes children listless, lethargic, and irritable. Therefore, get them to drink plenty of water and snack on high water-content foods like cucumber, watermelon, carrots, celery, and tomatoes.

MOMS: Just as a side note . . .

Exercise is an essential part of keeping our bodies healthy, including our brains! Exercise keeps our brains sharp and improving cognitive functioning. Above all, aerobic exercise improves task performance and increases the ability to process information more quickly.

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  • Author
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Kate Horney Certified Pre and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, Nutrition Coach
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Kate is a certified physical trainer and nutrition coach with a C.P.T. & B.S. in Exercise Physiology. She is a health and fitness professional with over a decade of experience… Read more

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