Ever since the last time change, our morning routine has been a little off. For the most part, it was because the kids were falling asleep late and waking up late, so we barely had time for breakfast before Junior’s appointments in the mornings. So granola bars and fruit leathers were quick and easy on-the-go “meals”.
Unfortunately, I noticed that Tater was beginning to have attitude issues…things like getting easily frustrated, melting down at the slightest little inconveniences, and crying because she couldn’t focus during school. Tater has always been a strong-willed child, but this was something different. I chalked it up to her being tired, then to too much screen time, then to being nervous about a couple of dentist appointments, and finally I planned on scheduling an appointment with Junior’s OT to discuss possible behavioral issues.
But, before I scheduled anything, I decided to run a little experiment.
Within 3 days, there was a huge improvement in her attitude. It’s been a complete 180! She’s calmer, more focused, and overall more balanced.
What did I do?
First, let’s start with me. My husband insists I eat three square meals every day, and my own mother refuses to answer the phone until I’ve eaten something in the morning. When I get low blood sugar, I get reaallllyyyy crabby. Tater eats healthy, but her snacks are usually just fruit…which has a lot of sugar (albeit natural sugar) but no protein to balance it. So, I decided to add in protein to all her meals and snacks to see if that would help keep her moods balanced.
She doesn’t like eggs in their plain, eggy form (in recipes is okay), and milk/cheese upset her tummy (but yogurt is fine), so I’ve had to come up with good protein sources for breakfast and snacks. (Lunch and dinner are easy…there are usually meat or beans involved.)
Here are some of the breakfasts I’ve been making:
- Delicious Protein Packed Breakfast Cookies
- French Toast
- Slow Cooker Greek Yogurt with Fresh Fruit topping (Greek yogurt has significantly more protein than it’s regular counterpart)
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Waffles (Oats pack a protein punch!)
- Oatmeal and Toast
- Trader Joes Organic Silver Dollar Pancakes (each serving contains 8 grams of protein)
- Trader Joes Raisin Walnut Apple Bars (toasted, each bar contains 6 g protein and she eats 2)
Snacks were very challenging…like I said before, she has always just requested fruit or maybe a little granola bar. So, I had to completely rethink snacks, especially because a hard boiled egg or cheese stick wouldn’t work. Here are some of Tater’s favorite snacks:
- Apple slices and Peanut Butter
- Celery sticks and Peanut Butter
- Hummus and Pita Chips
- Quick, Easy, No Bake Energy Bites
- Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bark (this is a wonderful dessert for Tater. The dark chocolate doesn’t cause a sugar crash, and the pumpkin seeds add protein)
- Air Popped Popcorn (each serving contains 4 g protein)
- Trail Mix
- Organic Soft Pretzel Bites (these are frozen and I found them at Costco. Each serving has 4 g protein)
It’s amazing how much our diet affects everything. I’m so glad that Tater’s behavior and attitude has been helped by such a simple fix, but I do need to keep on top of it. If she doesn’t have at least a little protein every 2 hours or so, it starts to show, and I have to make sure she doesn’t get any artificial colorings in her food, as she’s severely affected by them almost immediately. But, since I’ve started this, I’ve noticed SUCH a difference. Instead of crying because her Junior took a toy, she’ll calmly ask for it back. When I tell her it’s time to do school, she goes to the school room instead of yelling at me that she can’t focus. I guess food and mood do go hand-in-hand!
Do your children have food sensitivities? How does it affect them? Tell me in the comments!