Back-to-School with Omega-3

Fall is an optimal time to refocus on foods that fuel not only the body, but also the mind. Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly associated with heart health, but are essential throughout our lifespan for nourishing the brain. They are vital in cultivating the central nervous system, but may be the missing link in our child’s school day.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, some studies are showing an association between omega-3 fats and reading levels, memory function, and emotional and behavior conditions, including ADHD and antisocial traits. The recommended adequate intake for omega-3 fats varies from 0.9 to 1.6 grams per day for children between 4 and 18 years old, depending upon age and gender.

To incorporate omega-3’s into child’s routine, add chia seeds to their smoothie or ground flaxseed in a muffin for on-the-go breakfast options. Pack canned tuna with crackers in their lunch, or if they aren’t fish fans, go with a quarter-cup of walnuts or omega-3-fortified hardboiled eggs. Strive to showcase salmon, mackerel, trout or halibut two to three times a week for dinner. Salmon burgers are another way to encourage picky eaters to try fish.

To reach Shanna Shultz, RD, LDN, an in-store nutritionist at the Linglestown Rd. Giant store, in Harrisburg, call 717-545-0489. There will be a free nutrition class, ABC, 123, Building School Lunch is Easy, at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 22.

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