Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Best Start To Life: Healthy Eating Week 2013

The British Nutrition Foundation is launching Healthy Eating Week in order to promote healthy eating habits and exercise in all schools and nurseries. Part of the focus will also be the origins of the food we eat and practical cooking skills. Over 3,000 schools have registered to take part (that’s over one million children and young people). 

Research shows a strong correlation between diet and academic performance. It was shown that children who eat balanced meals are far more likely to do well than children who eat more consume more processed foods and higher levels of fat, sugar and salt. (Aldridge et al, 2008).

The key is not low calorie intake or eating large amounts of fruit and vegetables, but actually to consume enough types of food from each dietary group (fats, dairy, carbohydrate, protein and vitamins and minerals) to fulfil each quota. The focus is on diversity of diet throughout the school day. 

Britain still needs to improve standards of nutrition knowledge and cooking abilities. As processed food and ready meals become ever more widely and cheaply available, children can grow up without managing to learn these essential life skills. 

Academic performance in school influences future educational achievement and therefore adult income levels. It is our responsibility to make sure every child gets the best start possible in life. This may seem obvious, but the amount of money spent on advertising by companies that promote unhealthy food like Nestle and Cadbury is ten times as much as the government spends on healthy eating campaigns.
Parents can try their best to feed their children nutritious food and still lose out to clever marketing campaigns targeted at kids, and too many snacks available in school. Instead of giving children money to spend on chips, try making them a healthy salad or tortilla wrap. If they are hungry in between meals, replace crisps or sweets with fruit or sliced vegetables. Involve children in the preparation of the evening meal to encourage confidence in the kitchen.

Show your support for Healthy Eating Week 2013 by eating your homemade food and tweeting us pictures @EatinCampaign or post on Facebook


‘Diet Quality and Academic Performance,’ Aldridge, et al. (2008)

By Catherine Heath

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