Written by Marshall O'Brien, for Produce For Kids

Is this a typical morning scenario at home? Kids eat breakfast and then an hour later they seem lethargic and restless.  Wondering why? We have news. Their restless mood could possibly be attributed to the food they are eating.

Eating “real” food helps kids have a balanced mood, and lots of energy. ”Real” food is exactly what it sounds like – apples, strawberries, avocados, nuts, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, eggs, meats, and fish. These foods are fresh and minimally processed.

How do “real” foods help balance children’s moods? There are two big components to this: good fats and good proteins. Good fats are less processed like olive oil, avocados, nuts and nut butters. One way to think of it is “the closer to the earth” they are, the less processed they will be, and thus the better for us. Good fats play a key role in maintaining and improving memory, focus, mood and behavior.  All things our children need! Good protein sources come from legumes, beans, rice, nuts, eggs, chicken, beef, pork, fish and seafood. Good protein provides the building blocks for focus and moods as well as self-esteem.

Eating good carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains, provides all sorts of essential vitamins and minerals. These are needed to maintain a balanced mood too. They also provide fiber, which will help keep kids feeling full longer. When kids feel full, their blood sugar stabilizes and their mood is balanced.

When kids eat a “real” food balanced breakfast to start their day, blood sugar will stay stable longer throughout the morning.  As a result, they will stay focused, exhibit positive behavior, be happier and have more energy. The benefits are plentiful!

Examples of good fats, proteins and carbohydrates:

Good Fats
    -Olive Oil
    -Avocado
    -Nuts
    -Nut Butter

Good Proteins
    -Legumes
    -Beans
    -Rice
    -Nuts
    -Eggs
    -Chicken
    -Pork
    -Seafood

Good Carbohydrates
    -Vegetables
    -Fruits
    -Whole Grains