The Best Foods to Improve Concentration in Kids

by Eliza Martinez Google

    Every parent wants a smart kid, and chances are you'd do anything to help him with schoolwork and learning. If he has trouble concentrating, changing his diet can make a dramatic difference in your child's ability to focus. A poor diet -- one that lacks in nutrients and is high in fat, salt, sugar and calories -- can interfere with concentration, making it difficult for your child to pay attention. On the other hand, a well-balanced diet is ideal for boosting focus.

    Fruits and Vegetables

    Fruits and vegetables play a huge role in your child's overall health and well-being. They fill her body with nutrients that she needs to grow and develop, but they also help boost her concentration, according to Patrick Holford, nutrition expert and author of "10 Secrets of 100% Healthy People." While any fruit or vegetable is beneficial, some play a bigger role in concentration than others. Avocados, oranges and blueberries are ideal choices because they contain healthy sugars to fuel the brain and antioxidants to keep it performing optimally. Broccoli and tomatoes can also boost cognition, reports the Huffington Post.

    Omega-3s

    Omega-3s are a form of healthy fat that your child needs to keep his brain working and focusing at school and anywhere he's trying to learn something new. Avocados are a great choice because they also contain antioxidants, but they aren't the only option. Let your child snack on nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds and pecans. Add flax seeds to his oatmeal or smoothies. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are also prime sources of healthy fats. If your child doesn't like these foods but could benefit from a boost to his concentration, talk to his doctor about an omega-3 supplement, suggests Holford.

    Whole Grains

    Whole grains help regulate your child's glucose levels, keeping them steady so she can concentrate, according to the Huffington Post. Refined grains aren't as beneficial, so look for the presence of whole grains on the ingredients list. Oatmeal and whole-grain cereals work well for breakfast. Serve a midday sandwich on whole-wheat bread or a whole-wheat tortilla. Replace dinner's white pasta with a whole-wheat version and pair cheese with whole-grain crackers for snacks. Popcorn, brown rice, barley, millet and quinoa also count as whole grains.

    Iron-Rich Foods

    An iron deficiency can leave your child feeling sluggish and unable to focus. Iron is a vital nutrient that some kids lack in their diets. Children need 8 to 10 milligrams of iron each day, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Ensure your child is getting enough can help him pay better attention when concentration is required. Red meat is a prime source of the nutrient, but look for lean versions to keep his saturated fat intake under control. Other healthy sources of iron include fortified cereal, beans, spinach, raisins and tofu.

    About the Author

    Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images