Back To School—Back To Nutrition
The school year will be in full swing before we know it and students need more than just new school supplies to make the grade this year. We all know that a nutritious breakfast helps to start the day off right and fuel students’ minds for optimal learning during the school day. Studies show that eating specific foods for breakfast can give kids a boost academically, such as increasing their memory, improving test scores, decreasing absenteeism, improving mood and energy levels.
Carbohydrate rich foods help boost memory
The brain relies almost exclusively on glucose for fuel, a sugar supplied from carbohydrate-rich foods such as cereal, toast, fruit, milk and yogurt. Studies show that children and youth who eat a breakfast with a low-glycemic index (GI) like oatmeal, score higher on memory tests than those who eat a high glycemic index food, such as sugary cereals. A low GI food provides a slower, more lasting release of glucose to the brain, thus enhancing memory and attention span in the classroom.
Don’t let your child skip breakfast!
We know school mornings can be busy and the time crunch is a common reason for skipping breakfast. Other reasons include sleeping in, long bus rides to school, lack of parental supervision and no readily available breakfast foods.
Breakfast skippers miss out on many essential nutrients. Children who eat a morning meal are more likely to meet their daily requirements for dietary fibre, vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron and zinc—these all play an important role in the healthy development of the body and the brain.
Tips To Making Healthier Lunches and Snacks
Plan ahead! Taking a few minutes to plan will save you time (and stress!). Unlock Food, formerly Eat Right Ontario, provides some great ideas to get you started. Here are just a few.
Tip#1—Wash and chop your vegetables and fruit into school-sized snacks. Place in plastic containers so they are ready when you need them.
Tip#2—Re-organize! Keep all your lunch making supplies like containers, disposable cutlery and napkins in a designated spot.
Tip#3—Let your kids help with menu planning and preparing and packaging their own lunch. Aim to have healthy choices from each category found in the new Canada’s Food Guide. (https://food-guide.canada.ca)
Find more tips and recipe ideas on how to make this school year healthier at www.unlockfood.ca.