Eating To Support Baby’s Brain Development

Brain development begins with the anatomical formation of the brain and spine, and proceeds with “traffic flow,” or the establishment of the nervous system. While it may not seem obvious, this proper brain development and growth depends largely on nutrition. Proper nutrition during pregnancy helps ensure your baby will develop normally inside and outside of the womb, especially in the areas of thinking, learning, behavior and language development.

What are the best bets in terms of healthy, nutritious foods? Plenty of lean protein, omega-3 fats, iron, zinc and folate, as well as other nutrients.

Eating a well-balanced diet that includes healthy meals and snacks full of wholesome food (not too many sweets and fried foods) and a daily prenatal vitamin gives your baby the best chance at normal brain development. Make sure you avoid substances like alcohol and cigarettes, as they are known to impair the formation and wiring of your baby’s brain. So grab those almonds, leafy greens and lean meats, and get to munching!

Learn more about how your baby’s brain develops from Zero to Three


Jill Castle is a registered dietitian and childhood nutrition expert. As a former private practice owner, she currently shares her expertise as a writer, speaker and consultant. She is the co-author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School and author of the upcoming book Eat Like a Champion: Performance Nutrition for Your Young Athlete (2015).