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School Performance and Nutrition

Building good eating habits leads to better performance in school. Studies have shown that poor diets, especially diets that are too high in fats and sugars, can have a detrimental effect on behavior — particularly behaviors that can help children succeed in school. Poor eating habits can cause problems with concentration, mood, energy, and focus, and can directly impact a child’s ability to learn, not to mention that fats and sugars can cause childhood obesity.

Develop Healthy Morning Habits

Be sure to start the day off right by eating a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast can disrupt metabolism resulting in the same symptoms as a poor diet — and who can focus on the teacher over the rumble of a hungry belly?

A teacher serving a healthy lunch to preschoolers

Eating a healthy breakfast is part of a good morning routine. Keep it simple and nutritious, something that both you and your children can agree on. Is your family too busy for a sit down breakfast every morning? Cut up apples, a banana and some trail mix for a healthy meal that travels well. It’s easy for kids to eat during the morning commute.

A Mid-Day Habit

Beat feeling sluggish mid-day. High in sugar, sodas or soft drinks might seem like a good pick-me-up to get over the afternoon slump, but the energy boost they provide is only temporary, causing a crash to follow. Scientific research continually examines the link between refined sugar intake and hyperactivity and aggression. Simple carbohydrates like sugar, flours, and juices can all affect the body the same way. That’s why it’s important to choose whole grains, fruits, veggies, and other foods with a minimum of refined sugar.

A better snacking alternative is small amounts of proteins and carbohydrates, like natural peanut butter on celery sticks — it will provide more sustained energy to carry through to the next meal.

Healthy eating habits at home provide a good foundation for optimum performance in school.

Want to read more about how nutrition affects learning? Check out this article on nutrition and cognitive learning from the University of Mississippi.

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