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Focus on - Healthy eating to support student learning

28/10/2015

 A range of ways you can support Smart Choices and promote health and wellbeing in your children:

  • talk to children about the importance of healthy foods and drinks

  • model healthy eating at home

  • provide children with a good breakfast and a healthy lunchbox

  • volunteer at the tuckshop/canteen and other school events where possible

  • be a part of our school parent organisation.

Breakfast

 

Mornings can be a busy time; however, breakfast is extremely important for children before they come to school.

 Breakfast is important for children because:

  • it improves their mood, classroom focus, memory and learning

  • children’s appetites are often best in the first half of the day

  • protein foods at breakfast are a good idea, for example, dairy, eggs, baked beans

  • it is very difficult to meet daily nutrient needs if breakfast is missed. 

Children’s appetites are often better in the first half of the day, so breakfast provides a great opportunity to encourage their intake of nutritious foods.

 It is recommended, for adequate growth, that a quarter of a child’s daily energy requirements and some protein should be included at breakfast.

 Here is a sample of healthy breakfast ideas that contain an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, protein and high fibre carbohydrates to get your children’s day off to a great start.

  • Wholegrain cereals (e.g. porridge, muesli, wheat cereal) topped with reduced fat milk or yoghurt and a piece of fruit

  • Wholegrain toast with low fat healthy spreads, or served with baked beans/banana/egg/ cheese and tomato and a piece of fruit

  • Breakfast on the run – fruit such as banana, reduced fat milk and yoghurt smoothie

Eating and drinking

 

Eating and drinking at school can be quite a new experience for Prep students.

Remembering that to drink might not come naturally to them at first, so packing a refillable water bottle each day is encouraged to ensure children have ready access to fluids.  Remind them to refill their water bottle if they finish it during the school day.  We also have bubblers located throughout the school.

The cheapest and healthiest thirst quenching drink for children is plain water. Children also need milk for building strong bones and healthy teeth.

Drinks that are not needed as part of a healthy diet include fruit juice, cordial, soft drinks, sports drinks, flavoured waters, energy drinks and large serves of flavoured milk.

These drinks can fill children up and lead to a decreased appetite for other healthier foods. They can have a high sugar and energy content, which can lead to an unhealthy weight and damage to children’s teeth. It is best to provide these drinks only very occasionally or at special celebrations. 

Energy drinks may contain caffeine or guarana and are not recommended for consumption by children. We do not offer energy drinks for sale in our school.

Inadequate fluid throughout the day can lead to fatigue, listlessness, headache and low mood, remember to:

  • Water is best – pack a refillable water bottle every day

  • Milk is next best – will need to be kept cold

  • Juice should be 100% and small serve size

  • No soft drinks, cordials, sports drinks or flavoured waters

  • No energy drinks

Lunch

 

What you put in your child’s lunchbox is very important as about half of a child’s daily nutrition needs will be met while at school.  If children fill up on food that is not nutritious, they will not get the recommended nutrients each day for energy, growth and the best learning.

  • About half a child’s daily nutrition needs will be met while at school

  • Important that lunchbox food is nutritious

  • Provides energy, and the vitamins and minerals needed to help with growth, play, learning, focus and mood

Here are some more lunchbox ideas for Prep students which include nutritious whole foods from each of the five core food groups.

  • Wraps, rolls and sandwiches

  • Pita bread/English muffin pizzas

  • Noodle, rice or pasta dishes

  • Sushi, rice paper rolls

  • Frittata or quiche

  • Cheese and wholegrain crackers

  • Dip and vege sticks

  • Corn on the cob

  • Air-popped popcorn

  • Bottle of water

  • Milk poppers

  • Yoghurt, custard

  • Fresh and frozen fruit

Note: There are a number of fact sheets available from Nutrition Australia Qld Food Smart Schools  Program (www.foodsmartschools.org ) with more information and ideas for healthy lunchboxes.

We hope this information has assisted you in helping your child get the healthiest start they can to school. Please do not hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher at any time about healthy eating in our school.

Visit the Smart Choices website at www.education.qld.gov.au/schools/healthy  for more information about the Smart Choices strategy or for a copy of this presentation.

Visit NAQ Nutrition Food Smart Schools website at www.foodsmartschools.org for more information, fact sheets and resources about healthy eating for children and families.