Healthy eating habits begin at home, but schools and tuck shops can play a role in supporting parents and caregivers and ensuring children understand the importance of making healthy food choices. I believe its socially responsible for tuck shops to promote a quality diet for positive academic outcomes. Food is fuel for our bodies and healthy food provides your child with energy and nutrients to get them through the day.
Research indicates that eating well and being active are critical to children’s health and wellbeing in both the short and long term and that poor nutrition can be associated with lower academic achievement and poor school attendance. Teachers report improvements in attendance, attention, and behaviour in schools where healthy eating has become accepted practice.
Several studies show that nutritional levels can directly affect mental capacity among school-aged children. For example, iron deficiency can decrease dopamine transmission, in turn negatively impacting cognition. Deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals, specifically thiamine, vitamin E, vitamin B, iodine, and zinc, are shown to inhibit cognitive abilities and mental concentration. Additionally, amino acid and carbohydrate supplementation can improve perception, intuition, and reasoning. There are also several studies showing that improvements in nutrient intake can influence the cognitive ability and intelligence levels of school-aged children.
Good Nutrition helps students show up at school prepared to learn and because improvements in nutrition make students healthier, students are likely to have fewer absences and attend class more frequently. Studies show that malnutrition leads to behaviour problems, and that sugar has a negative impact on child behaviour.
However, these effects can be counteracted when children consume a balanced diet that includes protein, fat, complex carbohydrates, and fibre. Consequently, students will have more time in class and fewer interruptions in learning over the course of the school year. Additionally, students’ behaviour may improve and cause fewer disruptions in the classroom, creating a better learning environment for all students.
Let’s promote clever diets for clever kids.