Want Your Student To Do Their Best?

by Karen Bakies RD LD FAND

Want your student to do their best? Long before we could appreciate it, our mothers told us to eat right and get plenty of exercise, and now there is scientific evidence proving mom’s point.

Using MRI scans, researchers have looked into the brains of students and are finding that places like school cafeterias and playgrounds may be just as important as the classroom.

Research shows improved nutrition — starting with breakfast — coupled with increased physical activity may lead to improved academic performance.

As a registered dietitian, people often ask me how to improve their children’s diets. The truth is small steps can make a big difference.

One of the most important steps is to lead by example. Be sure your child eats breakfast every day. Find out if your school offers breakfast – it’s a great alternative for busy families. If your school does not offer school breakfast, consider asking them to do so.

Here are some other helpful tips:

  • Be a role model: Eat well and move more. Don’t let good habits, like eating breakfast and being physically active every day, slip away during the summer months.
  • Try new foods: Encourage everyone in your family to try healthy foods that may not be as familiar to them.
  • Learn more: Make plans to join your child at school to experience school lunch or breakfast firsthand to learn more about school meal programs.
  • Inquire: At the start of next school year, reach out to your child’s principal to ask about your school’s wellness policy and ask what you can do to help make sure it’s communicated, implemented and monitored.

Child health is a priority for everyone including parents, educators, school administrators, and the community. We can work together to help students succeed in the classroom. The bottom line is healthy students are better students.

Karen Bakies RD LD FAND

Karen is a registered dietitian and is the Nutrition Affairs Director for the American Dairy Association Mideast. A scientist at heart, she seeks out quality nutrition research to share with others in a profession she is passionate about. Karen is a mother of three and enjoys cooking, gardening, running and traveling.

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