Important notice to customers — product packaging changesLearn More

NEW FOOD PACKAGING IN STORE NOW

From August 2018, customers will notice our rebranded food packaging start to appear on shelf in all major stockists.

  • CURRENT Packaging
  • new Packaging

We are excited to announce our new packaging will start to appear on shelf from August 2018. This transition to new packaging will occur over a number of months. During this time there will be a mix of current and new packaging on shelf.

There are no major changes to these products, in some instances there is a small name change or slight recipe improvement, see below for the full details.

Products purchased via the website will be delivered to customers in our old packaging until the end of October. From November, products ordered from the website will be delivered in the new packaging.

Please note, our Infant Formula packaging will not be rebranded until later in 2019.

For any questions, connect with our team of accredited practising Dietitians on +61 3 6332 9200

Product name changes

  • Cereal Name Changes
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Baby Rice
  • NEW Packaging Organic Rice with Prebiotic (GOS) Note: Our Baby Rice recipe has been upgraded to now include GOS Prebiotic
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Vanilla Rice Custard
  • NEW Packaging Organic Milk & Vanilla Baby Rice
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Apple & Cinnamon Porridge
  • NEW Packaging Organic Apple & Cinnamon Baby Porridge
  • Ready To Serve Name Changes
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Banana, Pear & Mango
  • New Packaging Organic Banana, Pear, Apple & Mango
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Mango, Blueberry & Apple
  • New Packaging Organic Blueberry, Mango & Apple
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Peach & Apple
  • New Packaging Organic Grape, Apple & Peach
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Pumpkin & Tomato Risotto
  • New Packaging Organic Pumpkin, Sweet Potato & Tomato
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Broccoli, Beef & Brown Rice
  • New Packaging Organic Beef & Vegetables
  • Note: We have also upgraded some of our RTS recipes to remove added sugars and to remove some of the more complex ingredients that are not required for young children such as Tamari.
  • RUSKS NAME CHANGES
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Milk Rusks Toothiepegs
  • New Packaging Organic Milk Rusks
Home/Nutrition & Recipes/Articles/Infant & Toddler Nutrition/Nutrition/Foods that boost brain development in children

Foods that boost brain development in children

It has been well documented that nutrition in the first 1000 days is crucial for your baby’s cognitive and social development. The first 1000 days refers the time a woman is pregnant and the first two years of that child’s life. This period is the greatest developmental period of a child’s life which is strongly influenced by their nutritional intake. Many diseases are thought to be influenced by how well a child is nourished during this time. While we often focus on eating the right foods when we are pregnant and breastfeeding, it is easy to lose this focus when our babies are small. Sometimes the worry of getting babies to eat nutritious food can take the focus away from the key foods your children need for optimal brain development. There are a number of key nutrients small children need in their diet.

What are the key nutrients for brain development?

For the first twelve months of life, breastmilk is the primary source of nutrition for your baby. From around six months, they will commence solids and this is a wonderful opportunity to explore different foods, particularly iron rich foods. If your baby is not breastfed or partially breastfed, infant formula products must meet regulatory guidelines to meet the nutritional requirements of an infant. In this time, it is also important to consider foods that contain all the nutrients specific to promoting good brain development. These include:

  • Iron
  • Omega 3 DHA
  • Iodine
  • Zinc
  • Choline
  • Lutein

Below is a summary of these important nutrients and the foods you can include in your baby’s diet from around 6 months of age.

Key NutrientsFunctionFoodsRecipes
Omega 3

  Omega-3 fatty acids are also called polyunsaturated fatty acids. Most of the research on the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids is on three types: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

 Omega 3 fatty acids are important for:

  • Brain health, cognitive function
  • Eye health
  • Memory, learning and behaviour
Our body can make some amounts of EPA and DHA from ALA but in very small amounts. Therefore, it is important to consume Omega 3 in the diet. Sources of omega 3 include:

  • Oily fish – salmon, sardines, tuna, trout
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Seaweed
  • Soy linseed breads

Salmon should be consumed two to three times each week to get the idea amount of fats into your child’s diet.

If you are finding it hard to get Omega 3 into your child’s meals regularly, you can look to offering them a supplement every few days.

Salmon Balls

Salmon Quiche

Zinc  Zinc is required for brain function. A Zinc deficiency may affect cognitive development by alterations in attention, activity, neuropsychological behaviour and motor development. In Australia our intake of zinc is relatively low. Zinc can be obtained from a variety of foods and ideally one zinc rich food should be consumed each day. These include:

  • Red Meat
  • Chickpeas and lentils
  • Pork
  • Tofu
  • Oatmeal
Baby Bircher

Kid’s Bolognese – add lentils too as well, which will boost not only the fibre but also the iron too!

Iodine Mild iodine deficiency is relatively common in Australia due to our low iodine levels in the soil. Alarmingly, low iodine is linked to lower cognitive functioning in children — for this reason ensuring that we get enough iodine is not only crucial for our metabolic and mental Iodine is another key nutrient that is not easy for little ones to get in their daily diets. Seaweed and iodised salt are the two major sources of iodine. Other foods with Iodine include:

  • Bread (made with Iodised salt in Australia)
  • Dairy and eggs
  • Some fruit and vegetables grown in iodine rich soil
Kid’s Fried Rice
Iron Iron is a key nutrient that contributes to foetal and neonatal brain development and is associated with critical cellular processes in the immature brain. While an adequate iron intake is crucial for cognitive development in children, we know that a significant number of Aussie kids do not get enough iron due to poor red meat intake. There are other sources of iron which include:

  • Fortified infant cereal
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Red meat
  • Legumes – lentils, chickpeas
  • Pork

Always include a source of vitamin C (citrus, berries, capsicum, tomato) with these sources to enhance absorption

Cheesy Cutlets
Mini Egg Bites

CholineCholine is an essential nutrient made in very small amounts in the body and is therefore required through the diet. It plays a very important role in brain development both in pregnancy and in the first few years of life. Foods rich in Choline include:

  • Beef liver
  • Chicken breast
  • Eggs
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Kidney beans
Veggie Nuggets
Lutein Lutein belongs to the same family as Vitamin A although is not classed as a vitamin. Lutein must be consumed through the diet and plays a crucial role in the development of eyes and also plays a role in cognitive function. Plant foods rich in lutein include dark green leafy vegetables, peas, carrots, corn, citrus fruits, avocado and broccoli. Lutein is also present in egg yolks, the fat of animals whose diets include lutein-rich plants and in human breast milkChicken and vegetable soup

Summary

There are several key nutrients to consider in the first few years of life. These nutrients all play a key role in the brain development of your baby and should be included into the diet from around 6 months of age, in addition to breastmilk. Whilst breastmilk remains the primary source of nutrition in the first year of life, variety is key, as this is a small window of opportunity for maximum developmental opportunity for your child.

Breastfeeding is best

The World Health Organisation recommends that breastfeeding is best for your baby such that breastfeeding will provide the best start to life nutritionally and will also bring other benefits to a mother and her baby. Having a balanced diet when breastfeeding is also important. Infant Formulas should only be used after you’ve sought advice from a doctor or health practitioner. A decision not to breastfeed can be difficult to reverse and introducing partial bottle feeding may reduce the supply of breast milk. It is also wise to consider the cost of infant formula. If you use infant formula, all preparation and feeding instructions must be followed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This is important for your baby’s health.

Disclaimer: The content of this document is solely for educational purposes and should not be substituted for medical advice. You are solely responsible for forming your own opinions and conclusions on such matters and for making your own independent assessment of the information. Please consult your doctor if you are concerned about your baby’s health.

About the author

Marisa Nastasi is an Accredited Practising Dietitian for Bellamy’s Organic. She specialises in children's nutrition and has recently completed further studies in paediatric dietetics. She has worked in the industry for 8 years and has developed a strong working knowledge on how good quality diets can benefit the health of children so that they can develop to their full potential.

Important Notice to Parents and Guardians

  • The World Health Organisation recommends that breastfeeding is best for your baby.
  • Having a balanced diet when breastfeeding is also important. Infant Formulas should only be used after you’ve sought advice from a doctor or health practitioner.
  • A decision not to breastfeed can be difficult to reverse and introducing partial bottle feeding may reduce the supply of breast milk. It is also wise to consider the cost of infant formula.
  • If you use infant formula, all preparation and feeding instructions must be followed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This is important for your baby’s health.