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Issue: #5

Issue: Feeding Brains
November 2009


Well braininsights friends, we have done it again! We are reaching more and more people every month through the
braininsights newsletter.  The braininsights newsletter is received in Canada and throughout the US! Each issue includes interesting brain facts, updates, and information we can all share in an effort to make brain development common knowledge. Sharing this free newsletter provides insights to help make a positive difference for the children you know... and for your community!
It is so exciting to work together to make a positive impact on the development of all young brains! The braininsights and Positive Parenting group on LinkedIn is also growing every day. There are wonderful people from the US and other countries contributing to the discussions. Check it out and join the discussion.
Thank you for being a friend of braininsights and being part of creating a greater awareness of the difference we all can make!

If you have topics of interest that you would like to see focused on in upcoming newsletters, please contact me at!
To all the wonderful people I have had the pleasure of connecting with throughout the year. ..... THANK YOU!

Deborah McNelis
Owner and Creator of braininsights

PS: braininsights received this feedback...

"This is absolutely unequivocally completely and awesomely is one of the best resources and newsletters around. THANK YOU!"  
                                   -- A behavior specialist
Did you know....?

...... brain cells use glucose in the blood to create energy and help the brain think. When we eat healthy foods the brain receives the energy it needs.

of the energy an infant gains from food 60% is used for brain growth!

....... brain connections are coated with a substance called myelin. The brain needs omega-3 fats to create a quality coating. Myelin affects efficiency of the communication between neurons.
Tell everyone you know!!
The holidays turn our attention to food, family and lots of activity. This time of year gives us a chance to enjoy more family time and also to give to families in need.
(see announcements below)  A focus on feeding the brain all it needs can create happier holidays!

Feeding Brains
Food plays a vital role in brain function. Hunger causes stress in the brain due to the lack of nutrients it needs. This causes stress hormones to be released resulting in lack of attention, behavior problems, and the brain not functioning at optimal levels.
However, good nutrition can lead to increased serotonin levels in the brain and happier children spending more time playing and learning. Throughout the holidays it is important to realize the impact nutrition has on the brain. With shopping, family gatherings, and disrupted routines it is easy for the behavior of children (and adults) to be easily affected by hunger.
This is also a time when there may be more sweet foods around. Realizing that sugary foods or beverages eaten on an empty stomach instead of healthy foods (including enough protein) will result in a crabby and possibly hyperactive child.

Making sure your child has enough time for a good  breakfast can make a remarkable difference. A relaxed and healthy breakfast can reduce cravings for "junk food" throughout the day.

Additional Hungers
In creating happy holidays it is helpful to realize that the
brain also has hungers for structure, recognition, and  stimulation.

Children prefer the structure and routine that feels comforting and calming when they can anticipate what is going to be happening in their lives. When the brain feels  the security of predictability this leads to increased cooperation. A familiar routine decreases anxiety and stress for both adults and children.

A child wants your attention and recognition. Attention helps a child know they are valued and important. Children ideally want recognition for positive behaviors. However, if good behavior doesn't get attention, a child will resort to negative behaviors to get the need met. During the busy holiday time it is easy to have your attention on many other things. But, if you take the time to recognize your child's need for your attention, things are likely to go much smoother.

The brain likes stimulation. It is curious and likes novelty. Lack of stimulation feels like stress to the brain. When adults have to waiting for an appointment or are standing in line, etc. we find something to read or something to do. Children's brains do the same thing. A child will create an incident to stimulate their brain. This may also include the need to have physical activity. Some adult focused activities during the holidays may not be stimulating to a child's brain. Keeping this in mind and providing child focused activities will keep a child stimulated in positive ways.

Using this information will lead to strengthening the higher functioning areas of the brain. Feeding the brain's hungers will contribute to more  loving, caring, sharing, fun, laughter, hugs and smiles. All of what the holidays are meant to be about.

The brain remembers best when feeling positive emotions.
Enjoy your time together creating memories of a wonderful holiday season!

 (For brain stimulating activity ideas for the holidays watch for posts on Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog)

For further information read:

Nutritional Deficit Disorder 
Nutrition and the Brain
Love, Learning and Routines  
A wonderful website:
If you are aware of additional articles on this topic that others can benefit from please forward them to me and I will share with braininsights readers! 

If you are a parent or a professional working with children and families, you can get activity ideas on how to easily incorporate loving interactions into a daily routine and learn how it all benefits brain development by visiting for The Brain Development Series.

Your organization or workplace will also benefit from learning more about the brain. To arrange a presentation that fits your needs, contact Deborah at

 In 2006, 12.6  million American children lived in food insecure households.

Source: USDA. Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson.
Household Food Security in the United States, 2006.

*braininsights® is Giving Thanks This November

boy and girlYou can easily feed brains!
Baby food products will be donated to the local Feeding America® Eastern Wisconsin food bank for every brain activity packet purchased through the month of November. For more information on braininsights® and the Giving Thanks promotion visit

* The braininsights website makeover is completed! Check out the new look!


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Full sets of all 5 packets in The Brain Development Series are specially priced at $40.00
You are getting one packet FREE! 
AND your purchase will include donated baby food products!

Tell all parents, grandparents,
educators, family and friends!

Available at
Your purchase will donate:


Offer Expires:  November 30, 2009