Nutrition, learning and moodare tightly linked. When children eathealthy foods they’re more likely to besuccessful in school and be in a bettermood. Healthy eating is also a crucialpart of your child’s overall growth anddevelopment.
Eating less healthy foods has beenlinked to poorer marks in languageand math. Less healthy foods are thosethat are higher in sugar and fat andlower in vitamins and minerals, andinclude potato chips, french fries, hotdogs and sweetened beverages.
Research in Alberta and Canada hasfound many young children are notgetting enough healthy foods, suchas vegetables and fruit, for optimalhealth and learning. For example,
Healthy food helps children
succeed in the classroom
only 35 per cent of Canadian childrennine to 13 years old have at least fivedaily servings of vegetables and fruit.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends sixfor that age group.
The importance of breakfast cannever be overstated. Studies haveshown kids who eat breakfast haveimproved memory and test scores.Healthy food gives children’s brainsand bodies the nutrients they needto think and learn. People who skipbreakfast often have low intakes ofcalcium, iron and fibre. Children whodo not eat breakfast are more likelyto miss class, be late or be sick thanchildren who do. (See “The meal deal”on page 25 for three healthy breakfastrecipes.)
Lunch is another great opportunityto refuel a child for the rest of theday to help maintain energy andconcentration levels.
To meet the nutritional needs ofyour children, plan meals that includea variety of choices from the fourfood groups in Canada’s Food Guide:vegetables and fruit, grain products,milk and alternatives, and meat andalternatives.
Healthy eating is a learnedexperience and your own food andlifestyle choices will influence yourchild’s. When you make healthychoices, so will your children.
— Brandon Beasley
You can learn more about healthy eating from:
• MyHealth.Alberta.ca, a website by Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services
• Healthyalberta.com or health.alberta.ca, web-based information sources from the
Government of Alberta
• Hc-sc.gc.ca, Health Canada’s website, where you can search for Canada’s Food Guide
and tips on Food Guide servings
Studies have shown kids who eat breakfast have improved memory and test scores.