Whether it's a new school year or the kids are cooped up at home, discover which nutrients and foods can help your kids ward off anxiety and overall stress.
For more tips and ideas on keeping your kids healthy, check out the Hy-Vee KidsFit program. It's free to join.
Foods with Folate, Zinc, and Magnesium
According to the American Journal of Public Health, these nutrients might help stabilize mood and stave off depression in children and adolescents.
Foods with Folate: Asparagus, avocados, beets, beans (black, kidney, pinto), chickpeas, oranges, quinoa, romaine, salmon, spinach
Foods with Magnesium: Almonds, black beans, canned tuna, cashews, edamame, oatmeal
Foods with Zinc: Almonds, beans, beef, eggs, lentils, quinoa, salmon, shrimp, spinach, turkey
Some foods, such as certain cereals, are fortified with these nutrients. Be sure to check the nutrition label.
Whole grains containing the endosperm, bran, and germ provide fiber, folate and other B vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc—all of which play an important role in kids' health.
Whole Grains: Brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal and rolled oats, popcorn, quinoa, wild rice, whole wheat bread, cereal, crackers, pasta, tortillas
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies not only contain many, many vitamins and minerals for health, they also contain fiber, which is good for the gut, and can even affect your child's overall mood. Fruits and vegetables also provide an assortment of antioxidants, which help the body deal with all kinds of stresses.
Fruits High in Fiber: Raspberries, apples (with the peel), mangoes, bananas, oranges, strawberries
Vegetables High in Fiber: Dark leafy greens, carrots, beets, broccoli, artichokes, potatoes (with skin)
Foods with Protein
Protein is crucial for healthy growth and development. Replacing foods that are high in sugar with foods that have some protein and fiber can help prevent those dreaded sugar crashes.
Foods with Protein: Lean beef, poultry, and pork; fish and seafood; milk and yogurt; nuts and seeds; eggs; beans
Calcium in dairy builds strong bones, and vitamins A, B, and D, magnesium, and zinc help support a healthy immune system, muscle growth, energy levels, and sleep—all things that can affect stress levels and mood.
Dairy: Milk, milk-based yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese
Foods with Healthy Fats
Fats allow bodies to absorb vitamins and help build sheaths around nerves. Focus on unsaturated fats and limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of daily calories.
Healthy Fats: Avocados, nuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, canola oil, olive oil, salmon
Foods with Vitamin C
You may have heard that foods rich with vitamin C can help keep kids' immune systems healthy. But did you know it also helps with the development of neurotransmitters—important chemicals for the nervous system.
Foods with Vitamin C: Red bell peppers, berries, oranges, brocccoli, pineapple, potatoes, kiwifruit, Brussels sprouts, mangoes