The school day may be over, but kids can't afford "brain drain" now. To re-charge them for their after-school activities and homework, encourage them to drink water and snack on cereal. Here's why.
Most parents would be amazed at how little water kids take in at school. "Water is an overlooked food," says Naomi Neufeld, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist and director of the KidShape antiobesity program, "and kids often run around in a state of relative dehydration."
Dehydration, even a very mild case, makes kids listless, lethargic, and irritable--not exactly the best frame of mind for memorizing the Bill of Rights. What's more, Neufeld says, "too little water creates false hunger in children, so they make poor food choices." Offer water at every meal, especially after an active day.
Even if he had a bowl for breakfast, fortified whole grain cereals are a snack that's rich in folate, complex carbs, and easy-to-access protein. Fortified cereals are also a great source of vitamin B12, linked to how well we remember things, reports the National Institutes of Health. Instead of serving it plain, try mixing some whole grain cereal with raisins and peanuts.
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