Brain foods in the cafeteria
March 22, 2010
Director of Child Nutrition / Biography
From Lisa Griffin, director of Child Nutrition
Is your school cafeteria helping or hurting your student’s academic performance? Many who are still unwilling to read the research claim that what you eat doesn’t matter very much. Recent research studies have found that school nutrition does matter, though. That is why Child Nutrition and your student’s cafeteria are promoting “brain foods” during testing.
Foods high in antioxidants, fiber, and complex carbohydrates in balance with proteins will be highlighted and are being served in the cafeteria for both breakfast and lunch. Good sources of proteins mixed with complex carbohydrates provide the brain with a steady supply of glucose, which it utilizes to function. Antioxidants may enhance the brain’s cognition, memory and alertness. Foods that promote “brain power” such as fresh fruit smoothies, grapes, grape tomatoes, blackberries, leafy greens, beans, fish, eggs, turkey, yogurt, whole grain breads and cereals, broccoli, and a trail mix with walnuts will be offered. Please encourage your student to choose these foods for improved performance and health, not only during testing, but all the time. Check out the menu and don’t forget to include choices from the fruit and vegetable bar.
NUTRITION AND OPTIMAL LEARNING
By Beverly Edwards, PhD
- Eat a low sugar, low salt, and low fat diet.
- Try to eat several small meals a day instead of fewer large meals.
- Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day…8 would be even better. Soft drinks don’t count.
- Eat slowly.
- To increase mental performance and alertness include some of the following in your diet: eggs, tofu, fish, pork, turkey, chicken, and yogurt.
- Multivitamin supplements, especially the B vitamins, are a plus for most diets.
- Egg yolks and wheat germ contain lecithin, which is reported to boost memory.
- Leafy green vegetables and beans are sources of folic acid, which helps to reduce depression and boost learning performance.
- Whole grain breads, white meat tuna, seafood and Brazil nuts are sources of selenium. This important nutrient improves memory and concentration.
- The trace mineral boron improves mental activity and can be found in broccoli, peaches, pears, grapes, apples, nuts, and dried beans.
- Zinc enhances short term memory and one’s attention span. Food sources of zinc include fish, beans, whole grains, and dark meat turkey.
- Eric Jensen states in The Almost Genius Diet Booklet “Subjects on a diet of polyunsaturated fats learned 20% faster than those on a saturated fat diet.”
- Prior to an intense study time or a test, eat a light, protein rich meal (eggs, turkey or fish followed by nuts, bananas, seeds, rice or oats). The latter helps the release of CCK, cholecystokinin, tryptophan, choline, and phenylalanine. These are neurotransmitters associated with memory.
- When you need an energy boost, eat a banana, apple, pear, peach, tangerine, orange, or kiwi.
- When you need to relax, eat a high carbohydrate meal with calcium (milk or another dairy product). These foods raise the level of tryptophan and serotonin, which are calm inducers.
Following these recommendations will enhance your brain’s performance, so eat intelligently.
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