Eating a nutritious diet is important for parents because certain foods produce key chemicals that influence emotions. Developing a habit of eating regularly and healthfully will help you control your mood and your sense of well-being, making it easier to do the hard job of parenting.

Emotional chemicals work cooperatively, so if one chemical is low it affects the others, which is why making proper food choices can have a large positive effect on your day. Here are just a few examples of food choices that make sense.

Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. Research shows that people who do not eat breakfast are twice as likely to experience feelings of depression and four times as likely to have feelings of anxiety compared to people who start their day with a healthy meal. Blood glucose levels remain low without a healthy meal to start the day, and that means the brain cannot function in top form, which results in feelings of anxiety and irritability.

Snack on fruits or proteins. A banana and nuts are easy to carry with you and will give you an energy boost compared to sugary snacks and drinks. Eating a sugary snack sends your blood sugar levels way up, triggering the release of insulin to get them back down. Then, most often your blood sugar levels fall too low, making you feel tired and irritable.

Eat carbohydrate foods in the evening. Carbohydrates activate tryptophan in the brain, which is a key component of the sleep-regulating chemical serotonin. You and your children will feel sleepier at bedtime if you avoid high-protein snacks in the evening.

Knowing which brain chemicals are manufactured from which foods and then choosing healthfully will make your job as a parent easier.
More to consider:

Sunny experiences . . .

Get out in the sunshine to improve your mood. Cloudy skies are linked to low levels of serotonin in the brain, which is one of the connections to feelings of depression. In addition, a lack of light exposure can result in a deficiency of dopamine. You need adequate levels of dopamine to maintain focus and a bounce in your step.