Brain Fat is Cool
How to Get Your Kids Eating It, Even if They Hate Fish
In this article, you will learn about the different forms of Omega 3 fats and tips and tricks to eat them in a yummy fashion so your kids are begging for more instead of running screaming in the other direction every time you cook up something you are sure will make them smarter.
With a free recipe for Brain Muffins at the bottom of the post.
What are Omega 3’s?
“a polyunsaturated fatty acid whose carbon chain has its first double valence bond three carbons from the beginning” Vocabulary.com
Why does that matter?
(I’m not sure, so let’s move on to what they do in the body.)
Omega 3’s are an essential nutrient, which means our body cannot make them. So if we need them we must eat them.
Omega 3’s are used by our bodies to build cells. This is why they provide a wide range of health benefits. When we eat these fats we are feeding our cells. They also play a role in neurotransmitter function. Source
Well, our brains have cells, create cells, and need neurotransmitters. So we need to eat these fats to keep our brains healthy. And we need to feed our kids these fats to help their brain grow and develop to full potential.
The Happy Family of 3
You may be wondering why I am referring to these fats in the plural, that is simply because there is more than one main form of this fat.
In fact, there are 3 main types of Omega 3’s
You can tell they are all in the same family because they have the same last letter (which stands for acid).
This form can be converted into the other two forms by the body. It has generally been thought to be an inefficient conversion process but recent studies pointed out that populations who needed more DHA and EPA than they were getting in the diet had a much higher conversion factor. It is likely that if there is demand for EPA and DHA your child’s body will convert more ALA into those forms.
ALA is found in plant food sources including walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and several vegetable oils.
ALA acts as an antioxidant in the body protecting the cells from damage.
DHA & EPA
DHA & EPA are found primarily in fish. But just because that is true does not mean there are no other sources and that you should just give up on finding food sources. For one, keep mind the above not about how the body can use ALA to make DHA & EPA. Secondly, these fats are found in beef, chicken, milk, and eggs, although the amounts are much more significant if these animals are raised in a natural environment. In other words, cows grazing on grass and chickens pecking the ground for tasty bugs.
These fats are considered crucial to the brain. In fact, animals who had these fats withheld showed deficits in learning and memory function.
DHA & EPA are found in the membrane of brain cells and play a role in protection and communication of brain cells.
A Word About Slathering Butter on the Brain Muffins
Grass-fed butter is best as it has been found to have much higher amounts of Omega 3’s in addition to a whole cocktail of other nutrients that your body needs.
Letting your kids slather butter on these muffins is like piling vitamins on top, except they are made naturally instead of manufactured and so are much more absorbable than vitamins you buy in a bottle.
What Makes Brain Muffins Better?
Protein– because they are made with almond flour they are higher in protein and fat than typical muffins, and a bit lower in carbs.
Flaxseed Meal– this gives your kids a good boost of ALA
Chia Seeds– another boost of ALA
Optional chopped walnuts- more ALA
(If your kids aren’t eating fish they need a lot of ALA + some other meats and dairy that provide a direct source of DHA and EPA since the science is still shady on the conversion efficiency.)
In Addition to Butter Consider Serving a Glass of DHA/EPA Milk
This milk has DHA and EPA added right to it, and it does not change the taste of the milk. Buying and serving this is a great addition to your child’s diet if you cannot get them to eat fish.
Let me be clear, I have nothing against fish or seafood and if your family enjoys it I encourage you to eat it up. But I know not everyone likes those things. These ideas are just to encourage everyone that you need to get these Omega 3 fats into your kid’s bodies and you can do it successfully even if you never get them to eat fish.
Here is the recipe:
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup coconut oil or butter (measured solid and then melted)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup blueberries (I use wild frozen blueberries and just thaw them in a strainer under running water for a few minutes before adding them to the batter.)
1/2 cup sugar (or erythritol or another granulated sweetener of your choice)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts optional
Dump everything together.
Stir slightly. Don’t over stir muffins, just stop when the ingredients look mixed and stir by hand instead of machinery and you will get the best texture.
Makes 12 muffins, put in a muffin pan (either greased or with paper baking cups, or both, I always grease my baking cups to avoid the paper stealing half my muffin) dividing batter evenly. These won’t rise much.
Bake @ 350 degrees F for 20–25 minutes. They are done when the toothpick comes out clean. Ideally, they will be golden on top…my muffins never are, probably because I have a gas oven, they get golden on the bottom but not the top. But that’s ok, I can just cover the top with butter 🙂