10 Mood Boosting Foods Your Kids Will Eat

Good mood starts with food

Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

We all know that footballer Marcus Rashford has been actively campaigning for nutritious free school meals for children, an essential factor in their physical and mental wellbeing and development. Their primary wellbeing depends on a healthy balanced diet that promotes good mood and health. With that in mind, here are 10 mood boosting foods for your child(ren) that will positively impact them!

Banana oat pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes? Not only are banana oat pancakes healthy and nutritious, they also have natural sweetness from bananas. Serve them with a bit of yogurt and other fresh fruits, with a sprinkling of dark chocolate, and it’ll be bound to be a great breakfast for your kids! (Bananas are also known for being a boost for happiness!)

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Greek yogurt and fruits

Having fruits, such as raspberries and strawberries, with yogurt help to produce better nerve function, fight antibodies and fill your kids’ bellies up making them feel full and full of good nutrition and protein for added energy. Katie Ormerod, co-founder of Maahah, says “keeping a healthy microbiome ensures that neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which are vital for mental health, are being produced in sufficient supply and reducing inflammation which dramatically impacts mental health as well as immune system health.” Greek yogurt is a good source for gut health, rich in protein and a building block for serotonin. Add a drizzle of honey for a bit of extra sweetness.

Whole-grain waffles topped with peanut butter and fruits or egg

Whole grain foods are fabulous sources of nutrients and carbohydrates, keeping your kids’ feeling fuller for longer as well as being seriously yummy! Peanut butter helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and is full of healthy fats.

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Chicken, broccoli and peas one-pot linguine

It’s quick and requires only one large pot to cook the entire meal for lunch or dinner. Placing all the ingredients, with whatever seasoning you desire, in a pan and enough water to cover everything, helps to keep the dish saucy and creamy. Add in some garlic and ginger to help boost your kids’ immune system too. These greens will go down a treat, and help immensely to improve their happiness levels.

Tuna and Sweetcorn Pasta

Tuna is one of those foods that is nutritionally good and full of healthy fats; it is a great mood booster and versatile in recipes. To make it healthier, you can swap out mayonnaise for Greek yogurt and a dash of lemon juice. You can spice up the pasta dish by cooking the tuna with a bit of onions, garlic and ginger and paprika. Pasta is also a carb, which will be great for an energy boost.

Chicken, spinach and chickpea wrap

In a whole-grain wrap, having seasoned chicken with chickpea and spinach will be full of protein, carbohydrates and a variety of vitamins ranging from K, A, C and folate. Chickpeas also carry tryptophan which raises serotonin levels. It will make your kids feel naturally happy and full, as well.

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Pan-cooked salmon with sweet potato fries

Cooking salmon fillets sautéed in garlic butter will add delicious flavour and a lovely aroma, as well as healthy fats and much needed Omega-3s to your child’s diet. Sweet potatoes release their sugars slower and increase the happiness levels.

Salmon is one of those foods that improve moods and “are essential for the developing brain”, according to Dr Joe Taylor, a neurophysiologist at the University of Oxford and Head of the North at Candesic, a healthcare strategy consultancy. He goes on to say “We know that mood disorders in children can be improved with Omega-3 fatty acids, and so it seems likely that a lack of omega-3s puts children and adolescents are at risk of depression. A student undertaken by my research group at Oxford has demonstrated in a double-bling randomised control trial that three months of omega-3 supplementation improved reading, spelling and concentration in children with dyspraxia. It’s likely that an omega-3 rich diet is essential for children in getting the most out of school.”

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Avocado and dark chocolate truffles

Melting dark chocolate and mixing it in with avocados, before rolling into a ball and coating in cacao is a healthy and delicious dessert that is soft, moist and full of excellent nutrients and vitamins. Chocolate also, of course, releases endorphins!

Dates

As a source of natural sugars and high in fibre, as well as anti-oxidants, dates are easy to add to your kids’ diet. You can incorporate them into a blended smoothie, have them alone or with fruits.

Chocolate zucchini brownies

Made in one saucepan before pouring into an oven-proof tray, it saves extra clean up and is deliciously healthy and chocolaty. Like usual brownies, you add in two large eggs one at a time, a small mug of sugar, flour, zucchini and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. It’s sensational and will more than boost your child’s mood.

It is best children don’t go on a plant-based diet, as they lack the needed Vitamin B12 which will is essential for mental health development. This vitamin plays a key role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Without it, there is an increased risk of depression and mental health issues.

Try out the suggested foods above for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a little dessert — foods full of nutritional value, that aren’t overloaded with artificial sugars and sweeteners, are best for your children. These meals and desserts won’t give them a ‘sugar rush’, instead sustain them and up their serotonin levels naturally.

Aiming to break down the boundaries of cultural stigma and shame attached to mental health and sexuality within the South Asian culture and bring marginalised topics to light.

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Sumaiya Ahmed

Sumaiya Ahmed

Sumaiya Ahmed is a freelance journalist, specialising in sex & relationships, PCOS, and mental health. ko-fi.com/sumaiyaahmed

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