file6921285682178 resized 600One of the best parts of the holiday season is the food. The aromas wafting out of the kitchen are impossible to resist, and any treats that get set out are quickly gobbled up by your children.

But when you want to keep your children healthy and their brains energized over their vacation, what can you give them this time of year to help that goal? There are actually quite a few holiday foods that aid in brain protection and development; check them out: 


Peppermint is one of the best ways to snap your brain into action. It performs like caffeine (but without the addictive side effects), in that it wakes up your children’s brain when they consume it in almost any form (tea, gum, candy, etc.).

Peppermint probably won’t make your kids smarter in the long run, but numerous studies tout its short-term benefits for focus. Good thing you can find plenty of peppermint candy canes this time of year!


Antioxidants are necessary to maintaining a healthy, functioning brain that’s able to protect itself against free radicals and keep learning. And one of the most antioxidant-laden holiday foods are cranberries.

According to a Psychology Today article, “aging animals given cranberries showed actual improvements in normal age-related declines in working memory, reference memory, balance and coordination. They were able to keep on learning.”

Now you have even more reason to convince your kids to eat that cranberry salad.


Despite their bad reputation for containing too much cholesterol (which doesn’t matter so much in kids and young adults), eggs have a multitude of brainy health benefits that your children need.

The vitamin B12 helps the brain produce chemicals that reduce stress and make your kids feel happy. The cholesterol in eggs helps keep brain membranes healthy, and their omega-3 fatty acids help form connections between neurons.

With the cheap price of eggs, there’s little reason not to include them in your family’s holiday meals.

Sweet Potatoes

Too many carbohydrates over time can cause a multitude of health issues, but the right kinds eaten in moderation can help maintain children’s health. One great source of carbs also full of brain-boosting vitamins is sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes have a load of vitamin A that helps them produce new neurons in the brain, and the potatoes’ anti-inflammatory benefits have been proven to improve memory and other brain functions (the spud is even recommended for people who want to avoid Alzheimer’s disease for as long as possible).

To reap the brain benefits of sweet potatoes, swap out your regular mashed potatoes for these orange-colored delights instead. 

Try adding these ingredients to any of your holiday dishes or making them the focus of a meal or two during the next few weeks. You’ll end up with healthier children whose brains are ready to keep going once school starts again.