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How does healthy eating help my child at school?

Guest blog by Karen Newby BSc Nutritional Medicine, a Kallikids accredited provider.

The food that we eat is like fuel needed for a car – without enough of the right stuff the engine starts to slow down and eventually stop! The fuel equates to the protein, carbohydrate and fat needed in our diet. It’s also important to get lots of micronutrients– the ‘spark plugs’ keeping with the car analogy! – vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Children need all of these elements to support growth and vitality and with it the ability to concentrate at school.

Quality protein is the building block of the body, supporting growth and repair. It’s important that children consume quality protein at each meal (e.g. oily fish, eggs, organic probiotic yogurt, meat, pulses, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and tofu). Make sure kids ‘eat breakfast like a King!’ Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – it’s essential to get energy at this time to help sustain them through their busy morning. Scrambled or a boiled egg for breakfast with some wholemeal toast is an excellent way to start the day (for parents too!). Protein also fills you up for longer because it releases energy slowly allowing your children to last until break time.

Carbohydrate is also important for energy and is the only fuel the brain can use, so it’s vital for proper brain function too. However, the brain doesn’t function well if it gets fed too much sugar, as a sugar high often leads to a low. High sugar breakfast cereals (Coco Pops and Frosties being the worst offenders with over 30% sugar content) encourage ‘blood sugar rollercoasters’. Sugar highs can cause ADHD in children, a lack of concentration with an inability to sit still or listen; not what is needed in class! A sugar low can also cause these symptoms, along with irritability and aggressive behaviour. Carbohydrates that release sugar into the body slowly (often called low GI foods) are preferable such as wholegrains, wholemeal bread, brown rice, granola, nuts and seeds, pulses and non-starchy vegetables.

Fats are also important as an energy source. Essential fats omega 3 and 6 are particularly important as the body can’t make them (hence why they are essential) and are important as brain food (the brain is made up of over 60% essential fats). They are also important for a healthy hormone system, so especially important at this time. Sources of omega 3 are: oily fish (sardines, salmon, trout, mackerel), nuts, seeds, linseed oil, flaxseed. Omega 6 sources: avocado, nuts, seeds, vegetable oil, meat.

Micronutrients are needed to make everything work! Without these spark plugs the engine wouldn’t go, however much fuel there was. Vitamin C and zinc are important for the immune system and healing, B vitamins and iron are essential for energy, magnesium and calcium essential for strong bones (not just calcium!), vitamin A essential for the skin and eye health, the sunshine vitamin D for healthy bones and the immune system. Antioxidants are also good for helping the circulation and immune system such as berries and brightly coloured vegetables.

Mix these elements altogether and your children will be able to get the most out of school!

For further information on nutritional therapy visit Karen Newby's Kallikids profile.


Sarah Ryman

Marketing - Sarah Ryman

Mum of two primary school children, experienced in admin, procurement and marketing, focused on Expert Pin Boards and getting us ready for launch.

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