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Hyperactivity in children is often influenced by the kind of diet they’re on. Some foods can cause them to become irritable and restless, while others can calm them down. Find out the types of foods to avoid and the foods you can use to tame your baby, as recommended by experts.
Is your toddler constantly fired up? If so, you should consider taking a look at the foods in her diet. Items containing high quantities of sugar or refined carbs trigger the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which contribute to a child’s cranky and fidgety behaviour. Identifying these foods and substituting them with the good stuff will help calm your child.
Bad Foods For Tantrum Management in Children
One common way of parents for dealing with toddler tantrums is to simply give in to the tantrum. When this happens, they will typically tend to give their children food they like – chocolates, ice-creams, doughnuts, cupcakes… in short, foods which are best given in moderation or avoided completely. Parents do this with the point of view of offering the child something they want (but which is not usually offered). However, this can lead to several problems. Your child can get into the habit of emotional eating – or in short, using food to feel good when they are feeling low.
Another effect of giving high-sugar foods when they are throwing a tantrum is – it will not calm them down, but will only aggravate the tantrum! The sudden sugar-rush that these foods give will fill your child with a lot of energy, and no outlet for it. This will in turn make them crankier and more tantrum-y!
Good Foods for Tantrum Management in Children
Dealing with toddler tantrums is a common part of parenting. However, it doesn’t have to be so difficult! The next time your child throws a tantrum, we suggest you give them the following healthy, expert-recommended foods. These have been proven to help calm tantrums in children.
Fresh vegetables have a calming effect on children. Asparagus, celery, bell peppers, baby carrots, spinach and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, kale and cabbage are all superb choices to be included in your toddler’s diet.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grain bread, cereal and rice should replace refined grains. The high levels of vitamin B contained in whole grains have a direct effect on calming behaviour in a child. Pay special attention to oatmeal, which assists the brain in producing a relaxing chemical known as serotonin. You can also try this whole grain recipe for tantrum management: Multigrain Coconut Cookies.
Stock up on different kinds of nuts if you want your baby’s tantrums to decrease. Almonds, in particular, help in lowering stress while walnuts, which are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, help boost concentration. A simple serving of a ¼ cup of either of these nuts once a week can work wonders for your child’s state of mind.
Fruits are a great alternative to sugary foods while trying to appease tantrums in children, because they satiate the sweet craving in a healthy way. Berries, peaches, avocados and oranges are your best bet when choosing fruits to temper your child’s behaviour. Avocados and oranges help lower blood pressure.
Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries come packed with vitamin C and antioxidants to keep stress hormones at bay. Peaches, on the other hand, act as a natural sedative to calm the mind and muscles and reduce anxiety.
5. Chicken and Turkey
Of all the foods to calm a baby, chicken and turkey are among the best. They contain a rich amino acid called tryptophan that goes hand-in-hand with the relaxing hormone serotonin to calm the entire nervous system. If you do not want to feed your child chicken directly, you can prepare chicken soup or stock instead.
Another great source of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon also aids in boosting brainpower and building concentration in a toddler. Such fatty fish also stabilise mood swings.
7. Lamb and Beef
A lack of zinc in the system is related to erratic behaviour in a child. Both beef and lamb provide zinc that’s essential not just for growth but also to calm restless behaviour. If you are a non-vegetarian, this minty lamb stew (can also be made with beef) is a one-stop solution for tantrum management of your tiny tot!
8. Dark Chocolate
We know what you are thinking – if chocolate is bad, why is dark chocolate okay? We’ll tell you. Dark chocolate is known to help reduce cortisol levels, which otherwise can get toddlers’ energy levels skyrocketing. It also lowers anxiety-causing hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine.
It’s not easy handling an excitable toddler. As much as possible, try to restrict sugar intake from sweets, chocolates, ice-creams, lollipops and similar processed and sugary foods. Instead, use foods from the above list – this will not only calm the tantrums but also ensure your little one eats something nutritious and wholesome.
Is your child frequently restless or throws tantrums one too many times? Have you tried switching her diet? Do tell us what food items work for you in the comments.