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Getting a child to eat healthy food can be
a monumental challenge for any parent.
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
often struggle in school because they
are more likely to miss school, score
lower on standardized tests, and repeat
grades. Worse, bad eating habits can
lead to serious health problems, such as
diabetes, that not only affect academic
performance but a student’s ability to
participate in extracurricular activities.
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. Missing
school makes it harder for students to
maintain their grades or keep up with
lessons. Even if a student can keep up,
bad nutrition can interfere with their
ability to accept and digest information.
Too much sugar, for instance, can cause
attention deficit disorder-like symptoms
and chronic headaches, making learning
nearly impossible.
These particular nutrition problems
usually arise when kids are left in
charge of preparing their own breakfast
and lunch. If they don’t skip meals all
together, they usually are making poor
food choices. Out of convenience, kids
are drawn to processed foods that are
high in sugar, sodium and fat. This brand
of malnutrition is particularly insidious
because health, growth and cognitive
problems may not be noticed until a
serious issue has developed.
The simple act of eating breakfast can
make a world of difference in warding
off many of these health problems.
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 explains why schools
offering breakfast service have seen such
major improvements in their student’s
overall health, attitude and performance.
However, breakfast is just one of the
many ways parents can ensure their kids
get a healthy start. Following are some
additional suggestions for teaching your
children healthy eating habits.
5 Tips to Better Student
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
Make sure the school offers healthy
options for lunch and snack;
otherwise pack your child’s lunch.
Bring your kids to the grocery store
to help choose their favorite foods.
Limit their intake of high-sugar
drinks including fruit-flavored
drinks such as punch, soda and
even 100% fruit juice.
Let your kids help prepare a healthy
meal; they’ll have a great time
learning to eat nutritiously.