The nutritional quality of the food that goes into the mouth, she explained, has a big impact on how well the brain will function during the school day, and how much learning takes place. Scientists are learning more about that connection, and at the session presented colorful images of the brains of 9- and 10-year-old children to show how exercise sparks activity in the areas of the brain used in cognitive functioning. It was also noted that participation in school breakfast increases school attendance and has been linked to an improved ability of students to stay on task, solve problems, participate in class and work independently—and fewer psychosocial problems. One of the best ways to start a brain healthy day is with a nutritious breakfast, something that might seem overwhelming amidst the rush among family members to get cleaned up, dressed and organized for school and work.  But it’s not as complicated as you might think. Nickelsen family members also eat steel cut oatmeal—a healthy complex carbohydrate—two times a week, and they have blueberries daily. Snacks are important as well because the brain needs a steady supply of two main fuels—oxygen and glucose—to function.
Good snack choices include nuts—as long as there are no allergies—bananas, apples, raisins, grapes, oranges, other fresh fruits, as well as carrots, celery, red peppers, broccoli, cucumbers and other vegetables (even pack a dip if kids want it).


When you are looking at a change to a healthier, brain-friendly food plan, it is good to set goals and take small steps rather than trying to do everything at once, Mrs. The Winter Park Health Foundation is proud to support the Coordinated Youth Initiative (CYI), a collection of school-based health services to bolster the health of the whole child and remove barriers to learning.
They also discussed how fitness enhanced language processing, reading, spelling and arithmetic scores on standardized tests. Ronald Kleinman, with the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, pointed out to participants that brain activity needed for processing numerical information is enhanced in children who have eaten breakfast, and that greater mental effort is required for mathematical thinking in children who skip breakfast.
Nickelsen, is to have a healthy working brain—something that requires exercise, water and good nutrition and adequate sleep.
Nickelsen’s formula for a good breakfast includes fruit or 100 percent fruit juice (with calcium) or milk + protein + whole grain (complex carbohydrate). She said the number one reason for daytime sleepiness is dehydration and recommends children take a clean water bottle to school daily and use it.


And it is just as important to teach children about how foods and behaviors affect the brain and how they feel and perform so they are motivated to adopt healthy habits.
Her formula refers to whole grain and other high fiber, low-fat, low sugar carbohydrates (complex carbohydrates) rather than sugary pastries and cereals that will cause a child’s blood sugar to drop in 30 to 60 minutes. She suggests people talk to their doctors about eating eggs daily because there are differing medical opinions about how frequently eggs should be eaten. Parents could start with taking their children grocery shopping and together picking out some fruits and vegetables.



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