There are various easy and fun ways to boost your mental health and the mental health of your family. These choices can help to regulate sleep patterns, ward off explosive outbursts, and protect against the low mood.
Good Mood Foods
There are many foods that help to nourish the brain with both calming and energizing nutrients. It may be a stretch to expect the little ones to immediately enjoy new food but with some visual appeal, consistent presentation, and parent modeling, in time, it is very likely they will begin to add them to their “I like” food list. Here are some items to choose from, why you may want to have them on hand, and ideas how to use:
|Food||Why & How to Use|
|Quinoa||Quinoa is a versatile, gluten-free, slow-release carb and protein. Use quinoa seeds instead of rice or pasta in soup or casseroles. Buy quinoa flakes to create a quick porridge. See a recipe for my version of this porridge below.|
|Cinnamon||This spice offers blood sugar stabilizing properties that help balance mood. Sprinkle on top of hot dairy-free or dairy milk, porridge, or toast with real butter for taste and nutrition.|
|Pumpkin or Sunflower Seeds||These seeds contain good oil and antioxidants, and are high in zinc (important for brain health). Seeds typically aren’t as pricey as nuts and have less allergic potential. Always store in fridge for freshness. Enjoy in a trail mix with sulfite-free raisins or sprinkled on top of celery and organic peanut butter. Another idea is to grind seeds with roasted seaweed and dried berries to create a “dust” that can be sprinkled like a seasoning on top of whatever you like! It adds nutrition without the texture that some kids may find challenging to like.|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil||EVOO is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Bathe the brain with this outstanding oil to clear fuzzy thinking, and calm nerves. Combine with a good balsamic vinegar drizzled on salads, or on top of bread with tomatoes, cheese, and basil.|
|Banana||This classic fruit with nerve-supportive potassium can be enjoyed mashed up with eggs to become a flourless pancake. For a popular treat, peel it, slice in half, insert popsicle stick, dip in yogurt, and sprinkle seeds before placing in the freezer. Experiment with toppings.|
|Avocado||It is a solid choice for good oil, calming magnesium, fiber, and antioxidant properties. Add to smoothies, enjoy as guacamole, or place slices on crackers with cucumber and a smidgen of mineral salt on top. Kids may not like it right now but this one’s for the adults! ☺|
Some Solutions to Soothe or Stimulate!
Consider the following activities to help still your spirit or increase energy. Include the family to benefit everyone!
|Laugh||Light candles during a meal|
|Play music||Deep breathe|
|Do facial stretches (expect laughter)||Take Epsom salt bath (with calming magnesium)|
|Color (adult and children books)||Walk in sunlight|
No matter what you choose to do to support your brain health, it is a great investment. Your body, mind and spirit will be boosted as a result.
Hot Quinoa Flakes Cereal
The possibilities of what to serve onto or stir into this porridge-like cereal are endless: mashed banana, cocao powder, date pieces, nut or seed butter, apple chunks, maple syrup, and more. This family-friendly dish can be served for breakfast, snack, or anytime. The combination of taste and nutrition makes it a winning and fast choice to eat!
- 4 cups dairy or dairy-free milk
- 1 1/3 cups quinoa flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- fruit, your choice
- maple syrup, honey, or cinnamon, to taste
- nut or seed butter optional
In a medium-sized saucepan on medium-high heat, bring the milk to a boil.
Add the quinoa flakes, salt, and any fruit (like mashed banana), or nut or seed butter at this point if you want it or you can wait until serving.
After stirring the above, turn off heat and let sit to thicken for about 3 minutes. Stir again.
Spoon the cereal into individual servings, garnish with any fruit at this point if you prefer, and drizzle on any sweetener if using (like honey or maple syrup) or ground cinnamon. Feel free to add toppings like coconut flakes, ground cardamom, mango pieces, blueberries, etc. Alternatively, consider setting out the toppings and encouraging individuals to customize their own servings.