Brain food helps Finns to excel at school

March 9, 2008 Katja Presnal

Brain food helps Finns to excel at school

Liver casserole with cranberries

While Finnish kids think it would be such a novelty to have french fries, pizza or even pb&j sandwiches for school lunch, that’s all those so-common American lunch foods are in Finland: rarely eaten novelties. These foods also have another name, commonly known here in the US too: junk.

The studies show nutritious diet will make children smarter. Starting from the baby food, when breast is the best: breast milk enhances brain development and improved cognitive development.

Most mothers in Finland breastfeed their babies, and it is easier achieved even for working moms, the maternity leave is over 3 months and even after that parents can have 6 months of parent leave (either one, mother or father can take it), and legal childcare leave (meaning employees have to give the job back) until the child is three years old.

Schools in Finland have a free lunch from elementary school to high school. The school lunch might not be high gourmet, but it offers a well balanced diet with varieties of foods, including liver-based foods – hey I know what you’re thinking, but liver is a great source of vitamin A! Fish is also a weekly treat at Finnish schools – coincidently fish contains omega-3 fatty acids and is brain food at its best*.

Sugar in children’s diets is a big no-no. Especially on school days, and a very common Finnish tradition is to have karkkipäivä, candy day, once a week on Saturdays. Kids get their sugar high once a week, and rest of the time they don’t eat candy or other sweets. Think candy day like getting drunk on the weekends and keeping the weekdays sober. Oh, that reminds of another Finnish tradition, perjantaipullo, Friday bottle, which normally is vodka, and helps to de-stress. Maybe candy day is a way to get kids used to this other Finnish tradition.

Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work. Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners. She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous

    Great post Katja! Now I’ll know what I am making for dinner tonight: Maksalatikkoa tietysti!


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