Do you ever go to the local supermarket with your children and find yourself shuffling down the aisles trying to find dinners for the week, while your children are wrestling down the snack aisle throwing tons of different types of unhealthy foods into the cart? They are pleading and begging for cookies, chips, muffins, candy, and you do not want them to have it. You keep telling them no it is bad for you, but they keep saying why and you do not seem to have an in depth response.
Well, if you are a parent who struggles with convincing your child that too many sweets and fatty foods are not good for them, then you are in luck. The answers as to why proper diet and nutrition are important for high student performance are right here.
Good nutrition is extremely important for children and their learning process. Children are constantly developing and learning new information. In order for them to grow properly, they must eat healthy meals. You want to promote healthy food and brain functioning, right? Let’s take a look at the three reasons why children should always be eating well-balanced meals.
Fatty foods create lack of energy and concentration
According to the Public School Review, Grace Chen says that “According to the Society for Neuroscience, recent studies reveal that diets with high levels of saturated fats actually impair learning and memory. Unfortunately, foods with saturated fats are often the most affordable and widely available in schools. French fries, sugary desserts, cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, and other cafeteria staples are filling kids with food that actually lower their brain power before sending them back to class.”
These “quick fix” foods that cafeterias provide are ruining the learning process for children. They contain high amounts of saturated fats. Another theory suggests that the link between saturated fats and brain power is the effects of glucose and sugars in the higher-fat foods. If you do not know, glucose, a simple sugar, comes from carbohydrates, and while glucose is essential for energy, foods that are sky high in glucose in fact cause a body’s energy levels to drop. Chen states “As glucose is ingested, the body releases insulin in order to process the newly acquired foods. Normally, after a healthy meal, glucose levels should rise slightly, and a body should feel energized after taking in nutrition.”
Have you ever noticed your body feeling a “crash” feeling? The sort of feeling you get after ingesting too much caffeine throughout the day that once you get home, you essentially crash from the rush. Well, that is what happens when too much glucose is ingested. Your body begins to break down and “crash” due to ingesting high glucose foods. Think of the types of foods that are typically served in a school cafeteria. Soda, pizza, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, French fries, milkshakes, chicken fingers, chips, and the list goes on. All of these meal options can lead to a drop in energy; a drop your child cannot risk taking. Besides cafeteria food, lunches that parents pack can be detrimental as well. Packaged lunches, chips, cold cuts, are all foods that are high in glucose. If a child continues to have a regular diet of high glucose, it can result according to Chen in “damage to kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, and nerves. And a regular diet of high glucose can result in while these side effects are serious, high glucose also causes irritability, lethargy, and a lack of focus.”
Food deprivation and malnutrition
Many manufactured foods lack the proper nutrients for proper growth. They are highly processed and contain large amounts of sugar and artificial coloring. Foods such as cereal, chicken fingers, French fries, fruit snacks, packaged lunches, and sugary drinks are all foods that contain too much sodium, sugar, saturated fats, and carbohydrates. Even though children are eating a great amount of calories, most of them are not getting the key vitamins and minerals, which then make them malnourished.
Researchers Margaret Lahey and Shari Rosen, authors of Diet and Its Possible Role in Developmental Disorders discuss in a section how insufficient supply and insufficient nutrients have an effect on diet and can affect learning and behavior. They say “Malnourished children […] were found to have delays in vision, fine motors skills, language skills and personal-social skills.”
Children need optimal growth
Children need a wide variety of nutrients to help them develop properly. Depending on their age, children need around 1.5-2.5 cups of vegetables a day and 1.5-2.5 cups of fruit per day. Fruits contain vitamins like vitamin A, B1, and C. Vegetables contain vitamins like vitamin A, K, and B6. Each type of vitamin helps the body in different ways. They help your bones and teeth grow, give you energy, boost your immune system, strengthen blood vessels, and are good for cell renewal. These proper nutrients will help their body and minds grow, and give them the right kind of focus.
At Math Genie, children in two hours classes get a ten minute eating break. We encourage them to eat the right foods and encourage parents to leave them with the healthiest break snacks!
Chen, Grace. "How Diet and Nutrition Impact a Child's Learning Ability." Public School
Review, 22 Sept. 2016. Web.
Goldberg, Elana. "11 Essential Vitamins and Minerals Your Body Needs." Goodnet, 30 Oct.
Lahey, Margaret, and Shari Rosen. "Diet and Its Possible Role in Developmental Disorders."
Children's Disabilities Information. Web.
Ware, Megan. "Top 10 Worst Foods for Kids to Eat." Livestrong, 9 Jan. 2014. Web.