Healthy body, healthy mind!

When I think back to my childhood years, one of my fondest memories was the excitement and anticipation of Friday nights. Why? Because this was the one night of the week when my brother and I would visit my Nana (without my parents watching our every move) where she would ply us with enough chocolate, sweets and fizzy drink to feed an army! Needless to say, when it came to collecting us on Friday nights, it wasn’t exactly my parents’ favourite night of the week, as my brother and I bounced off the walls, full to the brim with sugar and E-numbers! Now, please don’t get me wrong, we all like a sweet treat now and then, and in fact, some fats are good for our bodies, but everything in moderation.

Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is particularly important for children for a number of reasons: it helps them to not only grow and develop physically, but also mentally by improving brain function, memory and concentration. During the school day, it is essential for children to be eating the right kinds of foods, to help them to be alert, energised and ready to learn. Did you know that it’s not just our bodies that absorb nutrients from the foods we eat, our brains do too? Here are some great foods to help boost brain power:

  • Salmon or Tuna – These fish are great sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which are needed for brain growth and function: essential when new learning is taking place every day.
  • Eggs – a great source of protein; their yolks contain choline, an important nutrient for memory development. Why not try them poached, scrambled, fried or even in an omelette.
  • Peanut Butter – This tasty snack is packed with vitamin E, an antioxidant which is essential for a strong immune system and healthy eyes. With a strong immune system, children will be less likely to be ill and therefore less likely to have time off school, missing vital learning time.
  • Oats and Oatmeal- An excellent source of energy and ‘brain fuel’. Wholegrain oats are packed with fibre which helps you to feel fuller for longer and to stop snacking on junk food. They contain slow-burn carbohydrates which give us a steady release of energy throughout the morning, instead of some sugary cereals which deliver a short, sharp burst of energy, followed by a low.
  • Berries – full of vitamin C and other antioxidants, berries can help improve memory.
  • Milk and yoghurt – B vitamins found in milk and yogurt are necessary for growth of brain tissue and neurotransmitters (chemicals which send messages from one brain cell to another).
  • Water – if we don’t drink enough water, we can become dehydrated, leading to headaches, tiredness and lack of concentration. A child between 4 and 8 years old should be consuming at least 5 cups of water a day; this increases to 7 cups for 9 to 12 year olds. Be careful – juices aren’t always a good choice: a 200ml Fruit Shoot orange drink contains 23g of sugar, that’s almost 5 teaspoons!

Our school meals at Arcadia are provided by Bloom Catering. They are nutritionally balanced, providing pupils with the energy they need throughout the day and teaching them of the benefits of healthy eating.

Arcadia Preparatory School is one of the leading private schools in Dubai that not only focus on education of the pupils, but also in developing their healthy eating habits. Good nutrition is required for every kid to perform well in academics and extracurricular activities.

So, when you are preparing your child’s snack or lunch, perhaps consider how a few simple swaps really could help boost their energy levels, attention span and overall brain power! How about swapping a muffin for a yogurt, or a chocolate spread sandwich for an egg mayo one, or even a packet of crisps for some apple slices with a teaspoon of peanut butter. Happy eating!


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