Happy Foods

While digging into the ingredients that make up our juices, we recently came across some recent info highlighting some scary statistics regarding children and the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their mental health. It’s probably no surprise that the number of people (of all ages) experiencing new or worsening mental health issues are rising rapidly. Though most of this is completely out of our hands right now (i.e. the amount of time our kids spend on screens for school, the lack of personal connection with friends, cooler weather keeping us indoors a bit more than normal, shorter, gloomier days, etc.)—there may be some things we can have some control over that can help boost our little kiddos emotional well-being. This article went on to share the benefits that consuming brightly colored fresh, whole fruits and vegetables could have on our mental well-being. Here are a few of the mood boosting happy foods we highly suggest:

  • Raw foods in general—raw foods have more nutrients and can fill in the gaps in nutrition better than those low nutrient processed foods can. There are experts who claim that some mental health issues can stem from nutritional deficiencies. Raw foods are the most natural, healthy, nutrient dense options to turn to.

  • Berries, Cherries, Pears, Apples, Citrus, Plums, Peaches, Apricots

  • Avocado, Salmon, Mackerel, Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Chia, Flax

  • Yams, Plantains, Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Bell Peppers

  • Just go wild in the produce section—doesn’t it always feel bright and fresh and mood lifting even just walking through that area of the grocery store. And you really can’t go wrong there. It’s all GOOD!

Don’t get us wrong - as parents ourselves, we TOTALLY understand the busy days and needing to take the easy route (processed food or fast foods) sometimes this is needed for your own mental health. BUT if we can be educated on the best of the best to give to our kiddos that will provide the most benefit - we can be prepared to help them through. We don’t strive for perfection here at The Goodery or in our own homes, but we want you to know some of our favorite ways to make GOOD mental health foods easy and fun. Here are a couple of our favorite ways to incorporate these healthy and yummy options into our day:

  • Fresh Juice—well of course!! ;) This is such a fun and easy way to get loads of nutrition in without any added sugars or fillers. Bright colors and fun names can make them super fun for kiddos!

  • Platter meals (AKA clean out the fridge meals!!)—THE BEST parent hack ever! Just chop all those fruits and veggies in the fridge that need to get eaten up and then arrange them on a large plate or tray with some other fun additions you have lying around in the pantry—-we usually add some crackers, cheese, beef jerky, popcorn (whatever we can find). You can even let the kids create this on their own as they get older and let them get creative (fun for them and WAY less work for you). Make this a weekly tradition, maybe click on a movie, and possibly even picnic in the living room to make it even more exciting.

  • Go for one of each—a fruit and veggie with every meal. You can even pick a few options at the store and let the kiddos choose their fruit and veggie, and have them help with that part of the meal. This can become an easy habit once they get used to it.

  • Veggies with breakfast—Break the norms! Is there a reason we as a culture don’t traditionally incorporate very many veggies with our breakfast? Why not? If kiddos (and adults too) just get used to a veggie and fruit with every meal, breakfast makes for another opportunity to get those veggies in!

  • Grow something! Yes, yes, we know—winter is coming yet again and we may not be able to garden outside here in the midwest during the next few months, BUT seeds and soil are cheap, and as long as you have a window that gets a decent amount of sunlight, it can be such a fun activity to try growing something yourselves. And there are studies that show that kiddos are much more likely to enjoy the food they grow themselves. Plus, for you incredible homeschooling parents, that totally pulls in so many opportunities to mix it into your lessons. WIN-WIN-WIN.

  • Let them choose—If you have the opportunity and feel comfortable masking up and adventuring to the store with the kiddos along, let them choose one fruit or vegetable to try. Make it a thing. Then work together to come up with a fun way to enjoy it or a recipe to try it in. Let them go wild—they might just choose something you didn’t think they would and they might be more inclined to try it with an open mind if they choose it themselves. P.S. don’t forget to hit up those Parenting FB groups to ask for recipe help if you need it! Lean into your village :)

This post is NOT INTENDED to inspire you to go out and buy ALL of the fruits and veggies and 20 new cookbooks, and throw everything in your pantry away to start fresh (if you were considering that, please stop in your tracks right now and keep reading). We only intend to encourage you to find some simple routines that work for you to make healthy easy and natural habits in your home over time (key words there are OVER TIME). This doesn’t happen overnight. One good choice and step in the right direction will keep you on the right path. Just keep taking those steps peeps! Until then we are here to keep helping you find ways to make the good stuff simple and easier.

Cheers to your health friends!

xoxo, Melissa and Emily