Another day, another peanut butter and jam sandwich.
Sure, there is no harm in eating the same sandwich a few times a week but when your son requests it for all meals over five consecutive days, it becomes an issue.
You try to negotiate alternatives – a chicken salad sandwich? No. Homemade sushi? No. Chicken pesto pasta? No. Every suggestion is met with “no, I just want a peanut butter and jam sandwich, that’s it.”
So, you make the requested sandwich for the 15th time this week alone. You have no idea what else to do, he must eat something, right? It’s better than nothing, especially when all the meal ideas you propose are seen as boring and not interesting enough to pique his interest.
Parents, we see you. We understand how difficult it can be to make sure your child eats enough food at every meal to fuel their growing bodies, let alone ensuring those meals contain plenty of nutritional value. It’s a tough task and though it may be near impossible to do perfectly, it’s an area in which we need to seek constant growth.
Why? Because healthy eating plays an important role not only in your child’s development but also in their learning.
According to research, there is a positive correlation between diet and student behaviour and academic performance.
Recent studies show that nutrition impacts student thinking skills, behaviour, and health – all factors which influence academic performance. The impact is both direct and indirect. Directly, a diet that is high in trans and saturated fats can negatively impact learning and memory, affecting the cognitive development of school aged children. Indirectly, poor nutrition can make students more vulnerable to sickness and lead to increased school absences.
A diet that is rich in essential nutrients supports energy production and increased focus – both key to high levels of engagement and concentration at school. Have you noticed that when your child eats a snack high in saturated fats, they experience a brief period of hyperactivity followed by almost abrupt tiredness or a “crash”? This is because they feel a big drop in energy levels as their body processes the glucose from the food. With low energy, it’s hard to concentrate or focus on anything, let alone schoolwork.
It’s difficult for a parent to read or hear that their child’s diet has such a strong influence on their ability to learn and grow. Particularly if your child has issues with more than just the taste of certain foods but also the colours and textures.
To help you support your child (and your family) on a journey to healthier eating, here are a few tips and strategies you can start implementing today:
Digesting all these tips at once can be information overload. If you take nothing else away from this blog, remember these two top tips when it comes to meals to support your child’s mood, behaviour and learning:
Try implementing the tips one at a time to see whether they work for your family, before moving on to the next one. We recommend starting with what you see as the least ambitious and working your way up to the most ambitious strategy. For example, you may choose to start with making sure your child doesn’t skip breakfast.
If you have any tips of your own you would like to share, call us on 1300 001 432, we would love to hear them and help other parents on their journey!
Contact us today and take the first step towards a brighter future for your child