Change in eating habits makes learning environments more effective

17 Jun

I just came across an article of a charter school in Wisconsin that recently participated in an experiment. Central Alternative High School in Appleton, Wisconsin is a charter school for students with behavioral issues. Like most alternative schools, Central Alternative was plagued with problems. Then, in 1997 Natural Ovens of Manitowoc, WI initiated a five-year project to bring healthy food into area schools. The goal was to show that fresh, nutritious food can make a real difference in the student’s behavior, learning and health. And what a difference it has made. Grades have improved, truancy and arguments have drastically decreased. Students are more focused on learning and staying healthy. They have recognized the relationship between good health and the ability to function and learn. All of this was made possible by simply changing the lunch program and eliminating the availability of junk food on the school premises. There are no more vending machines or soda machines. And the school cafeteria provides homemade foods made from old fashioned recipes with all natural ingredients and whole grains. Essentially, they eliminated chemical laden over processed foods the are in most people’s diet.

This is so groundbreaking, not because the idea is new, but because most schools throughout the nation insist on installing soda machines to increase revenue and serving low grade cafeteria crap to students. Remember ages ago when the lunch ladies actually made the food. Those days are long gone. Now all lunches are outsourced to companies that bring in their prepackaged junk and serve it to the kids. My first year teaching was at a high needs school in north county Missouri. Their “nutritious” breakfast was a package of fruit rollups and an orange-flavored drink (NOT 100% juice, but, essentially, a non carbonated soft drink). Yeah, I was totally appalled.

I sincerely believe that diet is the basis for health. Without a good diet, nothing else really matters. And this program just goes to prove how important it is.

If you are interested in reading the case study you can do so here.

One Response to “Change in eating habits makes learning environments more effective”


  1. Is school lunch good for your kid? « Parenting & Education - March 16, 2010

    […] and sugar drink doesn’t help me think through the day. I’ve talked before about the effects of diet on learning. But until we are ready to make some real changes we are going to continue to have obesity […]

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