For any parent, getting their child to eat healthy food can be a monumental challenge. However, studies show that all of the haggling, arguing, and hassle is actually worth the effort as a healthy diet leads to enhanced academic performance in school. In fact, malnourished children are often more likely to miss school, score lower on standardized tests, and repeat grades which is why they struggle in school. Worse, serious health problems, such as diabetes, that not only affect academic performance but a student’s ability to participate in extracurricular activities, can also be the result of bad eating habits.
When you follow the chain of negative events, starting with bad nutrition, it is easy to see how a child’s academic career can suffer. For example, bad nutrition leads to a weakened immune system, which leads to increased doctor visits and missed school days. Making it harder for students to maintain their grades or keep up with lessons is missing school. A student may be able to keep up but even so, bad nutrition can still interfere with their ability to accept and digest information. An example would be too much sugar which can cause deficit disorder-like symptoms and chronic headaches so learning is nearly impossible.
These particular nutrition problems usually arise when kids are left in charge of preparing their own breakfast and lunch. They are often making poor food choices if they don’t skip their meal altogether. Out of convenience, processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and fat are what kids are drawn to. Particularly insidious because health, growth and cognitive problems may not be noticed until a serious issue has developed is this brand of malnutrition.
When it comes to the act of eating breakfast, it can make a world of difference in warding off many of these health problems. The Dairy Council of California states that “a nutritious breakfast provides approximately one-fourth of the recommended dietary allowances for key nutrients such as protein, vitamin A, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.” This would explain why schools who offered breakfast service have seen such major movements in their student’s overall health and performance.
However, breakfast is not the only way that parents can ensure that their kids get a healthy start. To teach your children healthy eating habits, here are some additional suggestions.
Here are 5 Tips to Have Better Nutrition.
Don’t make the mistake of offering a wide variety of packaged snack items; rather offer a few healthy snacks like fresh fruits, trail mix, or cheese.
Find out if healthy options are offered for lunch and snack in the school and if not, pack your child’s lunch yourself.
Bring your kids to the grocery store to help choose their favorite foods.
Their intake of high-sugar drinks should be limited which include fruit-flavored drinks such as punch, soda and even 100% fruit juice.
Allow your kids to help prepare a healthy meal and they’ll have a great time learning to eat nutritiously.