Healthy Bodies and Healthy Brains

17 Feb

Dear Parents,

As we come to the end of another exciting fortnight at Middleton, the school is beautifully settled and in the thick of teaching and learning! We have almost finished with the unit ‘Brainwave’ and are on to our other units. Please look out for the letters explaining the unit outcomes from the teachers.IMG_5987

Talking of brains, we had a fantastic response from the children when we asked them, “What can we do to keep our brains healthy?” Here are some of their responses…

  • “We need to eat more fruits and vegetables.”- GraceIMG_5971
  • “Drink more water.”- Eunyul
  • “Do new things like puzzles, art or read new books.” – Hayley
  • “Save the brain by wearing a helmet!” –Myeong Jin
  • “Think positive.” – Misha
  • “Learn Mandarin (a new language) !” – Harry
  • “Don’t put “bad stuff” in your body like cigarette smoke.”- Azlan
  • “Exercise!” – Luna

What fabulous ideas from our young learners!  We are trying to implement many of these ideas in our daily routines. Children have started to do a ‘Brain Gym’ and fitness routine once a week in the morning assembly. This helps build our stamina, helps us stay fit and makes our brains more alert and ready for learning!

IMG_4943This week I would like to bring our focus towards nutrition for growing minds and bodies.  Children in primary school have many forces influencing their choice of meals including home influence, peer influence, taste and texture preferences.  At school we try to provide healthy and tasty food to help nourish growing children. Fruit, cereal, milk, yoghurt, juice, meats, IMG_5686cooked vegetables, salads and whole grains are a part of the school menu.  Children who opt to bring their food from home also bring a variety of healthy meals which also provides a beautiful cultural dimension to our learning! We encourage our learners to set the table, serve themselves as well as their friends and eat together to make mealtimes a social learning affair at school. The staff members sit at the table and encourage healthy eating by role modelling eating behaviours.  Children are encouraged to try at least one small trial serving of all foods on offer and bigger servings of what they like to eat. Many times the trials help them get over their pre-conceived ideas of what foods might taste like.

Some of the ways you could continue to encourage children towards being a mindful and healthy eater are to….IMG_4944

  • Have at least one mealtime together each day and make it a happy social affair.
  • Role-model healthy and balanced eating. Try different foods when on an outing! Show your children that you are willing to try new tastes!
  • Have a healthy breakfast! If your child is coming early to school, please feel free to send a small snack which he/she can eat before school starts.
  • Give a choice to the children keeping all options healthy ones! For example asking children what they would like to add in their salads, offers a choice as well as ownership and children are more likely to try their own recipes!
  • Keep healthy treats at home. Children have faster metabolisms and burn calories way quicker than adults. However, modern research advices us to limit sugary snacks and those rich on hydrogenated fats. Obesity is on the rise and food habits set in the childhood go a long way! Substitute sugars with fruits, dried fruits, honey and nuts for sweetness where possible.
  • Offer a balanced approach to food. An occasional sugary treat on a day you are out on a picnic or an occasional piece of birthday cake or dessert or a celebratory food can be given as a special treat, which also helps children understand balanced portions and moderation.
  • Try a rainbow meal challenge! How many colours are there on your healthy plate? Can you do better?

The food pyramid is now replaced by a healthy plate. The following website offers you more insights into the latest research on food portions.

Eat well, stay healthy and keep that brain alert!

Warm regards,

Atima Joshi

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