How a healthy diet can transform your child’s behaviour
November 15, 2018
We often focus on the physical benefits of a healthy diet. When your child is introduced to a range of foods, then they receive all the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong. But did you realize that can also impact mood, attitude, and behavior?
Let’s take a look at how food changes your child’s mood – and what they should eat for a happy, active lifestyle.
How food affects kids’ mood
Every parent knows that snacks are important. Without enough energy, kids get tired, grumpy, and prone to tantrums. But here are some negative food effects you might not know…
• Dehydration. Not many people know this, but one of the first symptoms of dehydration is bad temper! If your child is cranky, check when they last had a drink – and consider reducing salt in their diet.
• Iron and zinc. These minerals are key to healthy growth and development. If your child isn’t getting enough, they may have problems with concentration and tiredness.
• Preservatives and artificial colors. Many parents believe – and studies agree – that, artificial additives can increase mood swings and bad temper in kids. Look out for food labels which mention these colorings: tartrazine (E102), quinoline yellow (E104), sunset yellow (E110), carmosine (E122), ponceau 4R (E124), allura red (E129), sodium benozate (E211)
• Caffeine. It’s not just in coffee – caffeine turns up in soft drinks, iced tea, and even beverages marketed to kids. But it can make children hyperactive and stressed. Replace artificial drinks with water, fresh juice, or milk.
A healthy diet to keep kids happy
So now you’ve heard about the negative effects – let’s talk positive! Here are some tips for a diet that will make your child feel healthy and happy.
• Start the day with a high-protein, low-carb breakfast. Research shows that this combination of nutrients helps kids concentrate throughout the day. And when they eat breakfast on an empty stomach, the effects are magnified.
• Eat “happy foods”. Everyday foods such as milk, chicken, bananas, and green vegetables all provide the brain with extra dopamine. That’s often called the “happy chemical”! Oily fish is also an important source of folates and fatty acids for healthy brain development.
• Save carbs for the evening. It’s well-known that carbohydrates often make us sleepy. Choose complex carbs that will release energy slowly throughout the night, while your child sleeps.