|As Americans are rather fond of saying - you are what you eat. That's especially true for children. You probably have seen recent reports in the newspapers and on television where one British school decided to put the old adage into practice and see how children's diets affected their academic performance. When school officials banned fizzy drinks and crisps, they found it resulted in better behaviour and better exam results! This isn't an earth-shattering idea. It was based on similar research done by Schoenthaler in New York over 25 years ago! In an experiment conducted using data from more than 800 low-achieving schools, he showed that reducing sugar, fats and additives in children's meals raised the exam results of students from 11% below the national average to 5% above it! That's a 16% improvement! Children worked better in school, were more co-operative at home and slept better at night!
Health experts have been saying for years that foods full of refined sugar and refined flour make it harder for children to function effectively in class. Children get an immediate rush as the sugar levels in their blood shoot up - and that's followed by a drop in their energy as the sugar levels begin to fall. And then their bodies start to produce adrenaline to stop their blood sugar levels falling too far, which makes them frazzled and edgy.
Fizzy drinks are worse! They're so packed full of sugar (the equivalent of approximately 10 to 15 sugar cubes in each bottle) that they produce emotional swings. And fizzy drinks also contain phosphorous, which lessens the amount of calcium a child absorbs from his food. This upsets the calcium balance in the brain. Calcium is vital, not only for healthy teeth and bones but also for enabling nerve cells in the brain to communicate with one another.
| Our school has an agreed Healthy Eating Policy for many years now. It has been very successful and widely supported by all our families. This policy was reviewed and updated by the school's Board of Management during April 2013 when it decided that the following are unsuitable for healthy lunches and are forbidden in the school:
All fizzy drinks including 'energy' drinks & sugary drinks
All chocolate, including chocolate biscuits, bars, muffins, chocolate spreads including Nutella, chocolate chip buns, chocolate corners attached to yoghurts
Marshmallows, sweets, jellies, Winders, lollipops, etc
Cereal bars, fruit shots
Biscuits, buns, cakes
Croissants, doughnuts and other very high fat foods
Sausages & sausage rolls
Peanuts (allergy problems)