Kids & Stress Reducing Foods

Note to Readers:  Stress reducing foods can be an important ingredient in your family’s overall wellness plan. The right foods can reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue.  When we expose children to more that the ‘children’s menu,’ we expose them to a variety of healthy foods they are more likely to taste and like. Parents are amazed to hear that their child ate artichokes, salmon, and quinoa at my house.  A little creativity can go a long way. Kids will eat a healthy food when they help to prepare it, grow it, or give it a fun name. Quinoa soup is called Halloween soup at my house all year round! Thanks to Stephanie, AKA The Nutrition Mom for sharing her stress reducing foods.

by Stephanie Merchant

We all know the health benefits of eating better, or do we?  Can eating a healthier diet help with stress?  You betcha.

Our kiddos are already dealing with daily stress.  In addition to the “who likes who” this week, there are the more serious issues of state mandated tests, peer pressure, stranger danger, less outdoor play – and then there is the food.  Yes, food can increase or decrease stress depending on the choices.

We all want relaxed, happy and confident children.  So, we need to realize that food choices do matter.

Here are the top 4 stress inducers:

Stress reducing foodsCaffeine – Tea, coffee, sodas and energy drinks all have stimulants.  Over stimulation leads to feelings of anxiety and stress.

Sugar – This goes beyond candy and desserts.  You will find sugar added to everything from ketchup to pickles, “healthy” yogurts to sports drink.

Refined carbs – White bread, white pasta, and white rice all have the same effect as sugar.  They cause blood sugars to spike and to crash which leads to mood swings and a whole host of other issues as your body is working overtime to try to regulate itself.

Fast food – High in fat, preservatives, additives and salt.  Low in vitamins and minerals that are essential to help handle stress.

What’s the solution?  Anti-Stress Nutrition!

Increase the following foods to help keep stress under control:

Fresh veggies – All types and all colors, but pay special attention to green leafies.

Fruit – I am a big fan of all fruit, but the lower sugar options are berries, melons, citrus fruits and apples.

Nuts and Seeds – Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts and cashews, just to name a few.

Whole grains – Oats, brown rice, millet and quinoa.

Proteins – Proteins are found in the plant based choices listed above and can also be found in the following “clean” choices of wild caught fish, free range/antibiotic free chickens and eggs as well as buffalo meat.

The foods listed above in the anti-stress list stimulate the brains production of serotonin.  Serotonin creates relaxed and happy feelings.  And let’s be honest, happy, relaxed kids = happy, relaxed parents (and vise versa).

So, as a family, I encourage you to enjoy the wonderful, healthy, natural foods listed in the anti-stress diet and notice how energy levels, attention spans, patience and giggles increase as stress decreases.

Now, let’s go create a truly “happy” meal.


Stephanie Merchant is “The Nutrition Mom.” She is a Health & Lifestyle Coach who works with busy Moms that have lost themselves in their to-do lists.

You can learn more about Stephanie and her new program, “STOP the Overwhelm – Simple, Healthy, Solutions for Mealtime Success” at



Indigo Dreams: Garden of Wellness CD and stories introduce children to healthy eating. Positive statements support the overall message of wellness.

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