How proper nutrition fuels better school performance

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Many studies have shown that healthy, balanced diets can help improve focus and concentration throughout the day.

In fact, children who suffer from poor nutrition during the brain's most formative years tend to score much lower on tests of vocabulary, reading, comprehension, arithmetic, and general knowledge.

Foods that are high in fat and/or sugar actually slow brain function and tend to make you more sluggish; therefore, it is important to read nutrition labels and avoid these types of foods.

Making sure your child receives a balanced breakfast and lunch, paired with healthy snacks, is especially important to keep them focused throughout the school day.

Breakfast should include some form of carbohydrate, such as whole grain cereal or toast, along with a form of low-fat protein, such as eggs or turkey bacon, and a serving of fruit and/or vegetables.

Lunch should also include carbohydrates and lean protein, such as a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, along with another serving of fruit and/or vegetables.

Snacks are also important to keep your child energized and focused. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, like yogurt, serve as great, healthy snack options.

While federal regulations require that school meal programs provide nutritional food options, it may be difficult for children to make the healthiest choices in the lunch line. Therefore, if parents have the time and the means, preparing their child’s meals each day is encouraged to ensure they are receiving the best possible nourishment.

Parents with picky eaters and/or those who want learn more about proper nutrition for their children, may benefit from a consultation with a registered dietician. Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center has an exceptional team of registered dieticians dedicated to educating families on nutrition and helping them develop healthy meal plans.

Spokesperson Background:

Laura Reavis is a registered dietician specializing in pediatric nutrition at the Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center. Reavis received a Bachelor of Science in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007 and earned a Master of Science in nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2009.