Healthy Meals Keep Children Alert

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Deputy Chief Education Officer (Ag) Erwin Greaves, listens attentively to the presentations at the workshop. To his right is Deputy Chief Education Officer, Joy Gittens. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

Eating breakfast ("the most important meal of the day") and a healthy lunch will help keep your child’s mind alert and capable of effectively processing information all afternoon.

This is the message which Deputy Chief Education Officer (Ag) Erwin Greaves wants conveyed to parents and guardians.

The representative from the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development was addressing a training workshop for school canteen operators at the Dining Club in Newton Christ Church when he alluded to this.

Mr. Greaves said: "Teachers are well aware of the challenges they face in dealing with the "post-lunch" lethargic, sleepy student.?? Expecting canteen operators and the school meals service to alter their menus, while convincing students and their parents to change their eating habits, will be a more effective and successful exercise."??

In suggesting that positive changes could include children selecting salads and fruit as part of their meals, and water instead of sodas, he pointed out that the Ministry understood the value of proper nutrition to the intellectual development of the nation’s children and the country’s long-term economic development.

Mr. Greaves observed: "Employing healthy workers would significantly decrease the number of sick days required annually, as well as reduce the financial resources needed to provide health care for those suffering from lifestyle illnesses."??

As he urged parents and teachers to work together as a team to foster nutritious eating, he stressed that the home and school should have a policy on a healthy diet. "This policy which explains the importance of healthy eating can be viewed as part of the home and school’s responsibility for ensuring the best standard of care for all children," the educational official said.??

Participants heard that schools were exposed to the principles of health and proper nutrition in subjects such as Food & Nutrition and Health and Family Life Education, and that these programmes provided a combination of learning experiences designed to assist students to improve their health, either, by increasing their knowledge or by influencing their attitudes.??

The Deputy Chief Education Officer commended those schools which had sought to positively influence the health of students. He remarked: "Some have decided that only healthy snacks are to be sold on their compound. Others have introduced water days and fruit days; and still others have insisted that canteens sell fruit juices instead of sodas.?? These steps are necessary if we are to preserve the good health of our nation."??

jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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