Healthy eating habits have positive effects on everyone, but students can especially benefit from meeting the particular nutritional demands of the school day. To excel academically, children and adults must be physically able to attend class, collaborate with their peers and focus on the tasks at hand. The mental rigors of math, language study, reading and creative thinking also require physical support from food energy and nutrients. If you want to do your best to get good grades, a healthy diet can improve your performance in school’s social, physical and mental arenas.
You can’t keep up with homework and tests if you aren’t in school every day. Getting adequate protein, vitamins and minerals from food can keep you from taking sick days and missing out on daily lessons. Eating a healthy breakfast makes you more likely to achieve your daily nutritional goals. This keeps your body strong and less likely to succumb to disease. While infectious colds and flus happen, getting sufficient vitamin C, for example, can help you bounce back faster, reports the National Institutes of Health.
School is a social network that requires cooperation from students, teachers and staff, and your behavior in this environment depends partly on getting to school well fed. Hunger can distract you and make you irritable, while eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to improve both alertness and mood. A 2005 study on eating habits and academic performance reported in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association” affirmed these findings, indicating that breakfast prepares students to work toward good grades in academic environments.
Food energy and nutrients serve neurological as well as physical body functions. The same 2005 report concluded that eating breakfast regularly before school may affect the brain’s short-term blood sugar requirements and long-term nutritional support. This improves the memory, problem solving and concentration skills that are intrinsic to learning and achieving high grades.
Balanced nutrition plays a part in testing well. The Food Research and Action Center relates that students who eat a complete instead of partial breakfast work more quickly with fewer math and number errors than those who don’t. Healthy eating also contributes to better performance on vocabulary and visual skills tests. You can improve your recall, your test scores and your grades by eating right every day.
- “Journal of the American Dietetic Association”; Breakfast Habits ... and Academic Performance in Children and Adolescents; Gail C. Rampersaud, MS, RD, et al.; May 2005
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- National Institutes of Health; Common Cold; May 2011
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service; Benefits of Breakfast; March 2009
- Food Research and Action Center; Breakfast for Learning; Fall 2010
Nancy Clarke began writing in 1988 after achieving her Bachelor of Arts in English and has edited books on medicine, diet, senior care and other health topics. Her related affiliations include work for the American Medical Association and Oregon Health Plan.