Intake of food is necessary for a student’s physical and mental development. But, many food products popular among them are actually hindering their ability to learn. These items are loaded with sugar, caffeine, sodium, and many other chemicals which make students tired, unfocused, nervous, and sick. This not only impacts their grades and performance, but also their behavior and moods.
Unhealthy Diet affects Energy and Focus
Studies suggest that foods with high level of saturated fats actually hamper our learning and memory. These are quite affordable and widely available in schools. Items like French fries, burgers, nuggets, and so on, lower students’ brain power. As a result, they find it difficult to focus on class and studies post lunch.
Additionally, glucose and sugars have more effect on higher fat foods. We all know that glucose comes from carbohydrates and is vital for energy, but its high amount reduces the body’s energy levels. Once high fat foods are consumed, the body releases increased levels of insulin to process these newly consumed products. It also increases, glucose levels in our body, which is unhealthy. Regular consumption of high glucose and fatty diet can damage kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, and can cause irritability, lethargy, and lack of focus.
Malnutrition has Negative Effects
As per research, one out of every three children is overweight. But, in many developed nations, both underweight and overweight kids are deemed as malnourished. It is a known fact that the lack of proper food intake is known as malnutrition, which means, it not only implies lack of adequate food, but deficiency of nutrients as well.
Hence, even if a child is consuming huge amount of calories, it does not mean that they are taking vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in sufficient amounts. This lack of vitamins and minerals can affect students’ health, academic learning, and psychosocial behavior. Malnutrition can also introduce long-term neural issues in the brain. It may impact a student’s emotional responses, reaction to stress, learning disabilities, and so on.
Proper Planning for Better Dietary Outcomes
Necessary steps can be taken to ensure that students maintain healthy diet habits. At home, parents can plan and prepare healthy, tasty, and nutritious food items which are nourishing, and the children love to eat. At school, teachers can take the initiative to educate students about the ill effects of unhealthy eating and how consumption of wholesome food stuffs can boost their health. They can take steps towards a healthier school environment by examining systems, policy, school meals, health education, and innovative school programs. Additionally, school authorities can introduce unprocessed and natural food products like vegetables, fruits, salads, eggs, and lean proteins in the canteens. Natural food items provide us lesser intake of glucose; as a result, students can leave canteens feeling more energized, less lethargic, and more focused towards the classroom sessions.
Parents can ensure that their wards maintain healthy eating habits and brain function outside of the school. For this, they can pack smaller meals for their kids, which they can consume after every three to four hours. After just thirty minutes of a nutritious snack or meal, we develop feelings of fatigue and stress. Providing students with small packs of nutritious food which they can consume after short periods of time can boost their energy and improve their focus.
Selecting the Right Food for Improved Nutrition
It is of utmost importance that a healthy meal consists of natural fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken, fish, nuts, and eggs. Parents should make sure to provide their wards with food that consists of vitamins to target definite functions. For example, they can provide students with foods rich in lecithin, like peanuts, soya beans, and wheat germ, which can help to improve memory. Fruits like bananas, peaches, avocados, and melons are rich in potassium, which enhances energy and brain functioning. For better curricular and co-curricular outcomes of students, parents should avoid processed foods and incorporate natural food products into daily diet. This will contribute towards a healthier body, behavior, and brain power.
— Ananda Kamal Das