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You are what you eat: Nutrition to support your child’s education

children can be picky eaters, as any parent can tell you – impossibly picky. But children have special nutritional needs that must be met to help them grow into strong and healthy adults. Not only is a balanced daily diet necessary for physical growth and long-term health, it’s also essential for brain development. Research on children’s health shows that good nutrition positively impacts academic performance, including learning capacity, grades, attendance, and classroom behavior.

At the American School of Creative Science, Al Layyah, lessons on good nutrition and how to make healthy choices, are a significant part of the physical education curriculum, helping students to reach their academic potential and achieve good health. Read on to learn about what brain food the ASCS, Al Layyah, one of the leading American schools in Sharjah, suggests to assist your children with their education.

Salmon

This fish is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which help with brain growth and function. A diet balanced with fatty acids results in a sharper mind, naturally supporting a child’s development.

Eggs

Make eggs a staple part of your children’s breakfast. Not only are they a great source of protein, which is needed for growing muscles, eggs are high in the nutrient choline, vital for memory building. Eggs can be made in a variety of healthy ways, from boiled, to scrambled, or as filling inside a tortilla wrap.

Whole grains

Carbohydrates from healthy sources provide the brain and body with much needed energy in the form of glucose, also known as sugar. However, you need to pick your child’s carbohydrates carefully. Replace white breads and pastas with items like brown rice, whole or multigrain breads, and quinoa. In addition, whole grains foods contain fibers, which help to release energy at a steadier rate. Regulated energy levels mean that your child will be able to pay attention and concentrate during class, and have an easier time retaining lessons.

Nut butters

Peanut butter is a hit with most kids, and the good news is that it’s a healthy ingredient for a variety of snacks from cookies to granola bars. Or, it can be eaten on its own with sliced fruit such as apples or bananas. Peanut butter is high in Vitamin E, which protects against cell damage, and it contains Vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine), which helps transform sugars into energy. You can also try almond and cashew butters, but remember to choose brands without added sugars and salts.

Fresh fruit and vegetables

There are a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits that are all rich in nutrients, but if your kids are picky, these can be a hard sell. Try introducing them to berries. Fruits such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are high in antioxidants, which boost the immune system’s ability to fight disease. With natural sources of sugar as well, they make great toppings for yogurt and oatmeal, contributing to a well-balanced meal. A stronger immune system means fewer illnesses for your children, and fewer absences from school.

Introducing your children to healthy food also involves teaching them about having healthy relationship with food so that they can learn to make nutritious choices independently. Try some of the foods and preparation options suggested in this post whilst chatting with your kids about their nutritional value.

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