The following is an extract Becky Goddard-Hill’s new book Create Your own Calm an activity book for 6-12 year olds. It shares 50 activities to help kids manage their big feelings, reduce their anxieties and feel more zen.
In this extract from the book she advises kids on what food to eat to feel calm but there is no reason you couldn’t try them for yourself too. We all need to feel calm sometimes, don’t we?
Simple foods can make such a difference to your feelings so why not really think them through and add some of these calming foods to your family’s meals.
Food to help you feel calm
Good food equals a good mood – unknown
Sometimes when people get too hungry they feel angry. This is called being ‘Hangry’ It’s unpleasant for everyone, including you. You can easily avoid it by making sure you eat regularly and healthily.
According to the NHS most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much fat and they don’t eat enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.
It doesn’t do our bodies or minds good to eat junk food according to the NHS…instead, they suggest we eat a regular, balanced and healthy diet
The science bit
The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:
- eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
- have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
- eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
- choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
- drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)
Calm food choices
Did you know lots of food actually make you feel calmer? Here are just a few examples..can you look up some more?
Eggs contain an amino acid called tryptophan which helps create serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in our brains that helps to even out our moods, helps us our sleep and decreases anxiety.
Eggs are great scrambled or in an omelette
Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, zinc and iron. These all help your brain work really well When your brain is in good health, stress levels can lower too.
Pumpkin seeds are great sprinkled on soup or eaten on their own, as a snack
Leafy greens such as spinach also contain magnesium, which can help boost your mood
Spinach is lovely mixed with salad leaves or on a pizza
Blueberries are full of vitamin C and other antioxidants which can improve your brain health and as a result help you feel less anxious (all berries are good for you actually!)
Blueberries are great on your cereal.
Just like eggs, bananas also contain the amino acid called tryptophan, which makes your body produce serotonin. This raises your spirits and help reduce stress.
Have a look at the recipe below for banana ice cream.
Banana ice cream
Simply freeze banana chunks for at least 1 hr, then pop into a food processor and whizz. Add some regular or almond milk to make it smoother if you like
Once smooth, you could add in any other ingredients you fancy –
- A spoonful of peanut butter
- A handful of blueberries
- A few spoons of dark choc chips
(All super calming additions!)
Then you simply continue to blend until it’s all completely mixed. You can either eat it straight away or pop into the freezer until it’s frozen then serve when you wish! This isn’t the prettiest ice cream, but it is so tasty!
Create your own calm.. by choosing foods that are good for your brain
About the author
Becky is a post graduate qualified psychotherapist and certified life coach and a member of the National Council of Psychotherapists. She blogs at Simple Parenting and Emotionally Healthy Kids
Her previous books include Create Your own Happy and Be Happy Be You (for teenagers)
Create Your Own Calm is out now and available from Amazon and all good bookshops.