Some cartoons, commercials, and print ads correlate buying a certain product to working wonders for your body. For example, in the cartoon Popeye gains strength by eating spinach. I’ve seen several magazine ads using celebrities with milk moustaches proclaiming that “Milk does the body good.” Honey Nut Cheerios® cereal commercials have individuals stating, “I lowered my cholesterol today.” Yet, my memory fails me when it comes to advertisements that promise healthier eating for boosting learning.
Some children tend to have difficulty in being able to grasp or learn. Often times, these children are unable to learn due to poor nutrition or lack of hydration. When nutrition is neglected, or poor nutrition choices are made, it makes it very difficult for children to make connections, search for meaning, or simply problem solve (Norman, 2014).
Several studies have suggested that eating habits will affect the extent of one’s learning. Food serves several purposes: great source of nutrition, keeps one healthy, and it builds better brains. For instance, foods are a source of carbohydrates and sugar for energy as well as protein for amino acids (Jensen, 1997). Have you ever noticed how certain foods will cause your body to feel sluggish or make you more alert? Moreover, certain foods could also serve as memory boosters.
Nutrition is critical during the early years of brain development. Specific nutrients will ensure healthy growth development (Georgieff & Rao, 2001). In order to consume the necessary nutrients for learning, children will need a combination of proteins, unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, sugars, and trace elements such as boron, iron, selenium, vanadium, and potassium (Jensen, 2005). These foods are leafy green vegetables, salmon, nuts, lean meats, and fresh fruits. Be very cautious of food allergies! Yogurts, eggs, and cottage cheese are foods that enhance learning. In addition, (Misner, et. al, 2001) vitamin A is recommended which can be found in sweet potatoes or any orange vegetables. Keeping the brain hydrated during the day is equally important.
Did you know that certain foods may influence behaviors or moods? If a child has too many carbohydrates at lunch, they will tend to nod off. Proteins feed the brain and are great for morning snacks. Peppermint helps to give a burst of energy. Apples and oranges both promote creativity and will keep children alert . (Karges-Bone, 1996).
Nutritious snacks that may be served in some classroom are popcorn, carrots, raisins, rice cakes, energy bars, yogurt, mixed nuts, dried or fresh fruits, and veggie snacks. Remain cautious of food allergies. Remind parents that good nutrition can start at home before school for an awesome day of learning!
Kids R Kids International
Written by Danithea Ward, Ed.S., who is an Education Specialist at the Corporate Office. She holds an Educational Specialist degree in Education, a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and a BA in Early Childhood. She has taught for more than 13 years. In addition, she is a Level I Trainer for Georgia and a Professional Master Registered Trainer for Texas. In 2014, she will complete her Doctoral Study in Teacher Leadership through her study on the effects of physical environments in brain-compatible classrooms. She enjoys nutritious meals and peppermints
Eggs are a source of protein. Nutrition is critical during early brain development.