The sprint that ensues every morning when children wake up often ends in a marathon day of learning new subject material while in school. In the race to get out the door each day, proper nutrition is often neglected due to the unforgiving time constraints imposed on day to day life. What though, is the effect of poor eating habits on academic performance?
Many of the quick, convenient, and easily accessible options children grab as they run out the door are loaded with sugar, caffeine, additives, and empty calories. Are these chemical laden and processed foods inhibiting the youth of America’s ability to perform at their full potential? The sad truth is yes, without a doubt. According to recent studies, the effects are undeniable. Consuming so many foods lacking the nutritive building blocks to sustain energy and focus truly does impair learning and memory. The evidence shows those with poor eating habits tend to score lower in vocabulary, mathematics, reading comprehension, and general knowledge. To function optimally, the brain needs adequate amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, water, vitamins, and minerals. Without these crucial elements, children often become irritable, confused, and unfocused.
Studies are constantly reporting the same central information but it is critical that parents, teachers, and role models set the standard for these young minds. Children look at the examples before them and emulate what they witness. The quality of the food stocked and consumed in their presence will ultimately set the precedent for what they eat. A greater abundance of whole foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will yield young minds with greater mental clarity, increased attention spans, and natural, long lasting energy.
Ann Wigmore, an internationally recognized health educator stated, “The food we eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” Setting children up for success ultimately means instilling in them the habits necessary to thrive today, tomorrow, and in their future endeavors.