Can a Child’s Diet Impact Learning Ability?

Apple Montessori Schools

There are many factors that determine a child’s ability to focus and learn, but one important one that often times gets overlooked is nutrition and diet.

Apple Montessori Schools understand that food is crucial to our daily performance and that there are actually foods out there that will hinder a child’s ability to learn.

Many food items filled with sugar, caffeine, and sodium are popular amongst children, but they can leave our children feeling tired, unfocused and sick. This not only affects their performance in the classroom, it also influences their behavior and mood.

A recent study by the Society for Neuroscience has shown that diets that are high in saturated fat can actually impair a child’s learning and memory. Higher-fat foods contain high levels of glucose and sugars, which can cause a post-meal crash after the food is digested. Eating a healthier meal has the opposite effect. After a nutritious meal, your body’s natural glucose levels should rise slightly and actually energize your body.

Vitamin, nutrient and mineral intake are also important to keep in mind when preparing meals for your child throughout the school year. Malnourishment is the lack of proper food intake, which doesn’t mean that a child isn’t receiving enough food; it signifies that they aren’t getting the right amount of nutrients in their meals. Children who receive insufficient nutrition in their diet tend to have more problems with health, learning and psychological behavior.

Having a proper plan at home can ensure that your child is eating the right diet and maximizing their learning potential. To promote healthy brain function, parents should provide children with smaller snacks or meals that can be eaten every three to four hours, as opposed to just eating the three main meals in a day—breakfast, lunch, dinner. Having a nutritious breakfast before school starts is the most important meal and will get your child’s day off on the right foot.

The healthy meals and snacks that parents make for their children should include natural fruits and vegetables; whole grains; as well as lean proteins like chicken, fish, nuts and eggs. Foods that are rich in vitamins such as lecithin and potassium are also great to incorporate into nutritious meals. Try to avoid processed foods and keep your ingredients as natural as possible.

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