Can Food Choices Impact Your Child’s Behavior?

Did you know that there’s a lot of research that suggests our diet can have a big impact on our mental health? What’s particularly interesting is the relationship between anxiety in kids, and the types of food they’re eating. As parents, we know that eating healthy is important. Healthy food can help our kids stay focused in class and remain energized throughout the day, as well as keep them healthy for years to come. For example, studies show that protein-rich diets are often associated with lower levels of anxiety than those without enough protein—and this could be due in part to their ability to help reduce stress hormones like cortisol.

The Link Between Food and Anxiety in Kids.

According to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids who eat a lot of highly processed foods have higher rates of anxiety than those who don’t.

This connection between food choices and anxiety isn’t surprising when you think about it. After all, if your child’s body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to function properly, they’re more likely to experience problems with moods and stress levels.

For example, we all know sugar makes us feel better for a little while after eating it. But it also tends to trigger an increase in adrenaline production (which leads to an increase in heart rate). This can lead to feelings of anxiety or panic attacks in some individuals who are predisposed toward them. to learn more about common food triggers of behavioral issues, visit: Brain Balance

Additional tips for encouraging your kids and teens with anxiety to eat healthier:

  • Be patient
  • Give them a choice between two things that are both healthy
  • Get them involved in meal planning
  • Make sure there are lots of healthy snack options available
  • Have them help out with cooking as much as possible—even if it’s just stirring
  • Try new foods in small doses
  • Make sure they know what they’re eating
  • Give your child a say in what they eat
  • Be a good example yourself
  • Make it fun!

The good news is that it’s never too late for change even if they’ve been eating “junk” for years! If you want to help your child get off to a healthier start while reducing their anxiety, it’s possible. Start small and choose one meal per day to eliminate processed or sugary foods from your child’s diet. Don’t get discouraged by some bad days here and there. Keep at it and soon you’ll see both wins and results.

Here’s how to encourage healthy snacking, plus simple, nutritious, and kid-friendly snack ideas to get you started.

Kids need to eat a meal or snack every few hours to power them through the day. But snacks aren’t a free pass for all-you-can-eat chips and cookies. Even at snack time, it’s important to offer your child a broad variety of healthy food that provides the vitamins and minerals kids need to grow strong and healthy.

Remember, too, that food preferences start in early childhood. The earlier and the more consistent you are with offering various healthy foods, the more likely it is that your child will love different flavors and develop good lifelong eating habits.

Coming up with nutritious healthy snack ideas for toddlers can be a bit demanding. But it doesn’t have to be. We’ve compiled a list of healthy snack ideas, fresh, store-bought (no added sugar or nasty ingredients), and homemade, which are yummy and nutritious.

Be flexible.

It’s not unusual for young kids to do an about-face when it comes to their favorite food. Your child may love cauliflower one day, then suddenly decide they can’t stand it anymore. It can be frustrating, but try not to make it a big deal.

Keep this rule of thumb in mind: While you choose the quantities and types of foods you serve to your child, your child chooses if and how much of each food to eat.

For that reason, it’s always a good idea to have several healthy choices on hand for snacks. If you’re offering something your child hasn’t tried before or doesn’t like, ask them to try one bite and then let them enjoy the more familiar food. Don’t insist that they eat a full portion

Toddler Choking Hazards

When considering what snacks and foods to give your toddler, it’s important to remember that there are several choices that frequently lead to choking in this age group. These are things that are either hard, hard to chew, a similar size to their windpipe, sticky etc so we want to avoid them.

Here are some common choking hazards for toddlers:

  • Round foods like hot dogs, sausages, cherry tomatoes and grapes
  • Hard foods like apples and carrots and other hard raw veggies
  • Nut butter by the spoonful or thickly spread on bread
  • Marshmallows, whole nuts, gum, hard candy, chips and popcorn

Toddler Choking Hazards modified:

The good news is you don’t have to avoid most of these foods completely. Here’s how to modify some of the common choking hazards so they’re safer for toddlers:

  • For round foods: cut lengthwise into quarters
  • For hard fruits and veggies: grate, cut into matchsticks, dice and saute, steam or roast to soften
  • Nut butter: spread thinly on toast
  • Chop whole nuts into very small pieces and consider softer nuts like cashews/pecans/pistachios vs almonds/peanuts


Be a good role model.

Kids learn to eat new foods by watching the adults around them eat and enjoy those same foods. If you want your child to eat more vegetables and whole grains, be sure you’re piling them on your plate, too.


Potty Train with Pinky Bear is all about finding positive and fun solutions. Just like some of the other milestones in life, potty training can be a stressful time for toddlers and parents. Let us help you change that into an enjoyable and memorable process with our easy to use, potty training kit featuring the lovable and soft, Pinky Bear. Learn about Pinky Bear by clicking HERE or ORDER today. Read our BLOGS for other useful tips and advice.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.