If children eat a healthy diet during their first three years of school, they’ll likely have better reading skills according to a new study.
This research from Finland looked at how food affected reading skills. 161 Finnish children were monitored in grades 1 through 3.
The kids whose diets followed closely to the Mediterranean diet, the Baltic Sea and Finnish diets did better in tests measuring reading fluency and comprehension.
The Mediterranean, Baltic Sea and Finnish diets are generally healthier than the standard western diet. They’re higher in vegetables, fruit and berries, fish, whole grains and unsaturated fats.
They’re also much lower in red meat, sugar and saturated fats as well.
Parents need to take action to support their kids in learning. For parents with 4 to 8 years old, here are my prescriptions:
Partha’s RX: Healthy diet for 4 to 8 year olds
1. Have Children Eat 1 ½ cups of Vegetables Daily
They can be raw, cooked, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated.
2. Kids Need 1 to 1 ½ cups of Fruit Daily
Serve them fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. It doesn’t matter if they’re whole, cut-up, or pureed.
3. For grains, kids need 2 ½ ounce equivalents
That’s any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal or barley. An ounce in general is 1 slice of bread or ½ cup cooked rice or pasta.
4. Serve 4 ounce equivalents of Protein
Good choices are poultry, seafood, beans, peas and eggs. Also included are processed soy products, nuts, and seeds.
5. Every day give Children 2 ½ cups of Dairy
Milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages are great options.
Have your kids pick out vegetables at the supermarket which will give them a sense of pride for helping out. Including them in the prep work and making fun shapes are ways to get them excited to try out new veggies.