The Root Cause
I was recently at a meeting where we were visited by guest speaker Shana Green from The Root Cause. The Root Cause partners with schools and families, empowering your children to have a positive life-long relationship with food and sleep, which underpins optimum health, behaviours and academic performance.
Shana spoke about the results of a study held by The Root Cause regarding the contents of school lunchboxes. On average a school lunchbox will contain two items of packet/processed food – these packets of food combined include on average 29 ingredients, 3.6 teaspoons of sugar and 9 additives. A high proportion of the lunchboxes have a white bread sandwich with a spread – which Shana reported offers little nutritional value to support learning or good health.
The World Health Organisation recommends primary aged children should be consuming a maximum of 3-5 teaspoons of added sugar a day. The sugar content of the processed foods children bring to school means that many Australian children are meeting or potentially exceeding their recommended sugar allowance every day from their lunchbox alone!!
Other interesting facts that Shana shared include:
· Processed foods high in salts, sugar and fats have been linked to emotional and behavioural problems
· Children behave significantly better and remain more on task in the afternoon after a nutritious lunch
· Poor behaviour is linked to artificial colours, flavours and preservatives
· Increased fruit and vegetable intake is linked to lower incidences of mood disorders
Shana had many interesting suggestions how we can start to change the contents of our children’s lunchboxes. As a mum, I know how easy (and sometimes necessary!) it is to throw a muesli bar or yoghurt pouch in the lunchbox some days – but Shana has got me looking at how much sugar is in these foods and thinking of different ideas and items I can swap them out for. She suggests we start small and replace one processed item for a piece of fruit or some vegetables and go from there. Get your child involved in the process and ask them which coloured vegetable they would like in their lunchbox this week?
Shana advised that we should aim to eat a variety of foods for optimum nutrition – we are recommended to “eat the rainbow” as all the coloured foods help in different ways.
RED: helps with mood, heart function, memory and quality sleep (tomatoes, strawberries, red apple)
ORANGE: eyes/vision and joints (oranges, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato)
YELLOW: helps with mood, eyes and joints (yellow capsicum, corn, yellow pear, pineapple)
GREEN: energy levels, lungs, skin, teeth, bone health and sleep (green apple, leaves, broccoli, beans)
BLUE: blood health, digestive system (blueberries, purple grapes)
PURPLE: digestive system, urinary tract health and blood health (plums, red cabbage, beetroot)
WHITE: boosts immunity, balances hormones (cauliflower, parsnip, banana)
If you are interested in more information shared by The Root Cause, feel free to drop me an email and I would be happy to share Shana’s handouts with you – they include excellent information on how to read a nutrition label on packaged food, various eBooks on different of aspects of healthy eating, lunchbox recipes and more.
I am in the school on Monday, Wednesday & Friday morning and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.