It can be challenging to help children who suffer from anxiety, ADHD, and other mental health issues, but as a parent, there is no limit to the number of things you will try to make them feel better. While there are medications and therapies available, it’s usually best to begin by making small changes to your child’s lifestyle to promote mood balance, including supplementing their diet with brain-boosting foods. Below, discover 7 common foods to make healthy kids lunch or dinner that will help relax your child.
Foods rich in probiotics, like natural or Greek yogurt are excellent for the gut health of your child. As the gut is closely linked to the brain, clearing up your child’s gut will actually help improve their mood and boost mental stability. Many children love yogurt with fruit flavorings, but these are not ideal as they are usually packed with sugar. Instead, look for yogurt with no additives that have live bacteria, specifically Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. If your child would like, add some fresh fruit or seeds on top.
Have you ever taken a bite of dark chocolate and immediately felt a little more relaxed? It’s the same for your child, plus chocolate always feels like a treat. Dark chocolate with over 70% cacao has a high content of tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin aka the happy chemical. In addition, it’s a good source of magnesium, which is a naturally relaxing mineral.
The B Vitamins are critical to mental health, and a deficiency can lead to stress and even depression in your child. Luckily, a simple dish of scrambled eggs is actually packed with Vitamin B12. Whip up a delicious brunch for your child to get their day going the right way. If they aren’t a fan of eggs, foods like beef, whole grains, citrus fruits, and avocados are also high in B vitamins.
Like dark chocolate, turkey is very high in the amino acid tryptophan. Whether your little prefers a straightforward turkey and cheese sandwich or a yummy turkey tetrazzini, there are plenty of recipes that use this mood-boosting bird.
There’s nothing better before bed than a steaming cup of chamomile tea, and not just because of the light, fresh flavor. The all-natural herb has a host of medicinal benefits, including that it works as a mild sedative and sleep aid. Besides helping your child fall asleep, chamomile can also reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
A healthy diet is very important for the mental health of your child, but it should be approached more as a long-term strategy, rather than an on-the-spot cure. Anxiety can creep up on your child over time, which is why it’s important to serve them the best mood-boosting foods all the time, rather than only when they feel blue.