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What is the connection between nutrition and learning?

Most of us know that good nutrition habits benefit our bodies. But did you know that nutrition and learning are connected? From immunity, decreasing the risk of diseases, to improving sleep and caring for our nervous systems, healthy eating keeps the body performing at its best. 

Nutrition and learning have a strong connection as well. Proper nutrition ensures students have the nutrients needed to learn at their best all day long!

Nutrition and Learning at School

Children use the majority of their daily energy at school. Therefore, when children experience a drop in energy levels and don’t eat to replenish their energy, it can affect their learning leading to:

Adolescence is a crucial time for brain development; therefore, high sugar consumption and the increase in stress hormones that follow may trigger mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression [source].

Eat Smarter! Food Tips for Better Learning

To maintain energy levels throughout the day, be sure to manage blood sugar levels to avoid crashes. For instance, start the day with a balanced breakfast and pack easy-yet-healthy snacks that your child can eat at school. Eating throughout the day keeps blood sugar up.

It can be a challenge to get kids to eat healthy so, get creative! For optimal learning at school, try to incorporate the following into your child’s diet each day:

  1. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids—found in oily fish, nuts, and seeds
  2. Whole grains—found in brown rice, oatmeal, and specific bread and pasta
  3. Calcium—found in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables 
  4. Choline—found in eggs
  5. Zinc & Iron—lean meat
  6. Antioxidants—vegetables, including everyone’s favourite, broccoli, and colourful fruits

Learn more about the effects of each nutrient here.

Learn to Subtract

Our brains shape themselves based on what we eat so it’s crucial to add foods to your child’s diet that will allow their body to perform at its best. But, it’s just as essential, if not more, to take away the foods that negatively affect growth and development. 

Sugars are the most common substance linked to behavioural and learning challenges. Other foods include:

  • Fast foods
  • Processed meats
  • Red meat
  • High-fat dairy products
  • Sweets

It’s clear to see that nutrition and brain development are deeply connected. Making sure nutrition habits are as healthy as possible will go a long way when it comes to your child’s academic success!

Read more about Health, Nutrition and Learning

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