Brain Food

Rationale/Beliefs About Learning

It has been recognised through research that people regularly need food and water to maintain high-level brain function.  This has important implications for students in our schools.  Research strongly advocates for students being able to nibble on brain food and drink water throughout the school day. “… brains run better on a “nibbling diet”. Nibblers were shown to have better cognitive efunctioning, fewer discipline problems, lower cortisol levels, better glucose tolerance and better maintained insulin levels.  Some schools have reported significant drops in behaviour problems and increased learning performance since making nibbling food available at various times of the day.”(John Joseph – Focus Education “Food for Thought: The Critical Foundation for Brain Care”)

For a young developing brain the most important meal of the day is breakfast.  The metabolic rate in the brain increases soon after the alertness chemicals move us out of sleep patterns and into daytime cycles.  An increase in blood flow to the brain will ensure that nutrients are carried to the brain for conversion into chemicals.  Brain cells require fuel (through glucose) to operate effectively, and water to keep them hydrated. Proteins also boost brain alertness while carbohydrates induce calmness or relaxation.

For many students, particularly during periods of growth, the wait until a break time can also cause a decrease in energy and brain function.  The brain needs a regular supply of water to keep it in top working order.

Staff will:

  • Provide a flexible morning Brain Food time for students. It is a time when students are encouraged to eat brain-healthy food that helps maintain the glucose supply to the brain.

  • Allow students to sip from water bottles throughout the day.

  • Ensure students are seated during brain food breaks (this is not a play time)

  • Include Healthy Lifestyles programming as part of the Health curriculum.

Students will:

  • Develop higher level brain function

  • Have more energy to learn

  • Be more engaged in their learning thus reducing behaviour concerns

  • Experience more success with learning

  • Begin to develop lifelong skills around healthy eating and lifestyles

Parents /Caregivers will:

  • Ensure that students have eaten a healthy breakfast

  • Support the school’s Brain Food policy

  • Provide children with a small amount of healthy brain food in a separate container

  • Ensure children have a bottle of water for use in the classroom

Acceptable Brain Foods include:

  • Fresh peeled & sliced fruit and vegetables

  • Dried fruit (eg apricots, prunes, raisins and sultanas)

  • Shelled unsalted nuts (no peanuts) or seeds

  • Plain unsalted pop corn