The brain needs nourishment to function well. Stress hormones are released if the brain does not have the food it needs.
Making sure your child (and you) have the nourishment the brain needs will help keep everyone in good mood throughout the holidays. Eating a well balanced breakfast that includes protein provides the brain with the nutrients to function well. Healthy eating results in the release of "feel good" chemicals. The brain is also less likely to crave carbohydrates when it gets the nourishment it needs. Research shows children who eat breakfast have a more stable mood throughout the day.
However, eating sugary cereal, doughnuts, or sweetened juices will result in the brain needing food again only 30 minutes later. The brain then feels stress and releases stress chemicals. As a result a child may experience feelings of agitation, aggression, and anxiety. Young developing brains do not yet know how to control all of these feelings.This is why it it is called, "out of control" behavior. Children need the adults in their lives to understand and provide all that their brains need.
During the holidays is not always easy to eat in healthy ways. Here are some simple tips to help keep brain systems in balance. Hopefully these will contribute to happier holidays!
- Keep water and healthy snacks with you when you are away from home to keep the brain from getting hungry and turning to fast food for meals.
- Provide meals that include adequate amounts of protein.
- Eat healthy foods before eating sweets. This will reduce the chance for mood swings.
- Put a place mat in the refrigerator with healthy foods on it. Let your child know these are foods they "get to" choose from when needing a snack.
This article from keepkidshealthy.com provides impressive research information on the benefits of breakfast, as well as helpful tips.