Does this sound like your typical morning? You wake up rushed and stressed and scramble to get out the door. You leave home without eating or maybe you eat something quick, like a toaster pastry, while driving to work. About an hour later, you feel lethargic, restless and out of it. Do you wonder why? We have the answer—your lack of focus is most likely because of the foods you are eating.

Eating “real” food, instead of processed carbohydrates, helps you enjoy balanced moods and consistent energy. ”Real” food is exactly what it sounds like – apples, strawberries, avocados, nuts, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, cheese, eggs, meats and fish, etc. “Real” foods are fresh and minimally processed.

What types of foods are best for your energy, emotions and mood? They fall into three categories.

  • Slow carbs are fiber-dense foods like vegetables, fruits and minimally processed whole grains. Their fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream (carbohydrates are converted to sugar during digestion), which keeps one’s blood sugar stable.
  • Good fats are those processed without heat and chemicals: olive oil, avocados, nuts and nut butters, etc. The closer to their natural state they are, the more nutrition and less harmful chemicals they provide us. Good fats play a key role in maintaining and improving memory, focus, mood and behavior—all things our children need!
  • Protein sources can be either plant- or animal-based, such as legumes (peas and beans, such as kidney, black, lima, etc.), rice, tree nuts, eggs, chicken, beef, pork, fish and seafood. Good protein, in addition to supporting muscle growth and repair, provides the building blocks for focus and moods as well as self-esteem.

No matter what your age, if you start your day with “real” food as part of a balanced breakfast, your blood sugar stays stable throughout the morning. As a result, you will stay more focused, be happier and have more energy. The benefits are plentiful!

These nourishing and tasty breakfasts to help you and your kids do their best. Try Chef Marshall’s Breakfast Milkshake and Wild Rice-Mushroom Egg Muffins.

You can learn more about helping your family feel and do their best through Smart Nutrition with our subscription resource and meal-planning website: