Healthy Eating for Healthy Learning and Behavior for Children

Posted on 24. Oct, 2013 by in Main Blog, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy

Healthy Eating for Healthy Learning and Behavior for Children

It is no secret today that children are experiencing learning and behavior difficulties at epidemic levels.  At least one in five children suffers from some type of learning disability.  While there are likely many contributors that influence the increase in these problems for children, an important, but often overlooked factor is that of nutrition.

The old adage, “You are what you eat” is a good one, and is even more accurate when stated “You are what you absorb from what you eat.”   Nutrients from the foods that we eat fuel our body and allow us to function optimally, both physically and mentally.  Science confirms that food affects the neurotransmitters (messengers) in our brain.  Simply put, food affects how we think, feel and behave, and it is the number one influence in our environment that we can control.  Eating the wrong foods can make us feel sluggish, irritable and even depressed.  Low nutrient foods can lead to headaches, lowered immunity and illness and digestive disturbance.

Making healthy food choices for children can help to put them at their best possible place for positive learning and behavior.  As far as food goes, it is important to know that there are ‘thinker helpers’ and quite the opposite.

Here are ten tips for making food choices that maximize healthy learning and behavior for children:

  1. Start with workable changes for shopping and eating routines.
  1. Always read product ingredient labels.
  1. Work toward increasing whole foods and decreasing processed and refined foods.
  1. Work to eliminate artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, excess sugar and other unnecessary additives when making food choices.
  1. Be aware of marketing strategies to get you to buy products.









  1. Shop on the ‘outside’ of the store to find more whole foods, or foods in their natural state.
  1. Choose organics as feasible.  Look for fresh, ‘in season’ and locally grown foods.
  1. Make simple menu plans to prevent mealtime stress.
  1. Be watchful of food sensitivities.
  1. Practice moderation when eating ‘low nutrition’ treats, keeping the focus on working toward healthier eating.

Helping children to develop healthy eating habits is an importance task that can result in very positive outcomes.  Persistence is the key, so seek support if necessary in addressing healthy eating goals.  After all, the habits you help form will probably be with your children for life!


Written By: Patty Canton with HealthSmart! Consulting

Patty provides healthy eating/ healthy living coaching for parents of special needs and neurotypical children.

Find her at The Flourish Center and read more about her and her services at:




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