Think Food Doesn’t Affect Behavior? WATCH THIS.

food affects behavior

It’s no big secret: sugary junk food can make our kids bounce of the walls. But how does it affect their relationships with other kids? Their ability to work as part of a team? A group of 5-9 year old kids in Britain have the answer for us in this simple experiment that had them attending two very different parties.

Party One offered healthy snacks of apple slices, carrot sticks, sandwiches, hummus and water to drink.

Party Two offered not so healthy (but fairly standard) party food including sweets, potato chips, and soda.

After eating, both groups played the same games, and with researchers and parents on hand to observe, the FUN began.

Admittedly, research and data can be, well, boring… but not so when collected into a nice 5-6 min video!!! Check out the results for yourself; the differences in these two groups of kids as the parties unfold is remarkable. Playing games. Putting together puzzles. Running around, playing with balloons, etc. Look at the incidents of physical aggression and hyperactivity measured by researchers at these two parties. VASTLY different and yes, as expected, far more common in the Party Food Group (dark blue) than the Healthy Food Group (light blue).

Kids Behavior: Healthy Food vs Party Food Graph

In the end, the Healthy Food Group did 48% better in the games overall. That’s huge.

The question in the end comes back to us, the moms and dads and schools and caregivers.

How we are setting our kids up to win, or not?

How are the foods we give our kids preparing them to learn, grow, question, create, participate AND play with friends? How different might a pop-tart-in-the-car sort of morning be than a hot-bowl-of-oatmeal-with-bananas-on-top-at-home sort of morning?

What is your experience with various foods and your kids behavior? How do you keep things in perspective, avoiding the far too easy to fall in and bottomless pit of mama-guilt (that truly serves no-one) when it comes to this issue? I’d love to hear your thoughts.



When we follow our bliss, tune in and trust, anything and everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because everything is BETTER when we are holding hands. Let’s share on twitterfacebook and pinterest too because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!!!

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How to Make Pumpkin Seeds

It’s a delicious and nutritious seasonal snack and it’s easy enough for kids to make almost entirely on their own! My daughter who is a HUGE fan of pumpkin seeds (especially if she made them…) teaches us how kids can whip up a batch in the kitchen. Recipe included in VIDEO (2:31).

Do your kids have a go-to recipe that they love for Halloween or Thanksgiving? Share it with us in the comments below. And give Reilly some props! She’s a natural!

How to Surrender 2010

I surrender. I give up and give in to the ten tons of laundry that has invaded my home, along with the despicable crumbs of food everywhere and the fact that I haven’t showered in three days. And no, I don’t have two newborns… not even one!

It’s New Years Eve Day and well, that’s just how it is around here. You know what, I think I’ll make it. 2011 will come anyway… no end of the world, despite my clearly having lost my Type A Mom status.

But seriously now, “surrender” was my word for 2010. When it came to me on New Year’s Eve 2009, I didn’t realize the weight of it — it’s significance and what it would require. What?! You mean I actually have to do it? Give up control?! It was only when I actually let go that I realized how tightly I was holding on — and how tired I was from doing it.

Have you ever watched your kids insist on doing something “the hard way?” Just recently, I told my 7yo, “Trust me on this one. It’s better if you…”

Of course, he summarily dismisses my shoe-tying “wisdom” but eventually he does learn from doing it BOTH ways that I actually sometimes know stuff. But he had to get there all on his own.

A highlight from 2010 was when I shared a panel discussion with Kimberly Coleman and she said, “You make plans and God laughs.” I imagine God laughs a lot when She watches me insist on doing things my way too because She’s been saying, “Trust me! It’s easier THIS way.”

I remember Kim fondly when either me or my kids insist on “pushing rope.” I have a much greater compassion quotient for their desire to control their own destiny. And I’m slowly developing some self-compassion for the times I’ve chosen to summarily dismiss Divine Wisdom myself and at least learned, if but the hard way, that there is an easier way.

I’m wrapping up 2010 and putting a bow on it. It doesn’t look pretty right now but it feels really, really good.

What’s YOUR word for 2011?

I got mine in the wee hours of one morning but that’s a subject of an entirely separate post!

Happy New Year, my friend!

How to Make Spoon Pie

I love to eat sweets. I love to bake. (Which came first, the chicken or the egg?)

My older two girls have inherited my sweet-tooth I am proud (and horrified) to say. So when the publishers of “Bon Appetit Desserts” asked if they could mail me their new 689 page cookbook full of only (you guessed it) desserts to review, I said, “Heck YEAH!!!” The deal was sealed when they agreed to send an additional cookbook to pass on to YOU.  (Just comment – gotta play to WIN!)

Described on the cover as the cookbook for “all things sweet and wonderful”, I’d have to agree. A forty dollar value and I don’t know how many pounds heavy, you’ll want to sit down with a cup of coffee and flip through this eye-pleaser thanks largely to award winning photographer and frequent Bon Appetit contributor Con Poulos.

This 50 second video from when the kids and I took it on a “test run” this past Thanksgiving holiday weekend will give you a good look at what you could win! (Did I mention 689 pages?) We poured over our new, easy to follow and pretty-to-look-at cookbook and picked three non-fussy recipe to make. [Read more…]

How to Make Mealtimes Memorable

Mealtimes can offer your family a chance to have real quality family time.   Show your children love by using some creativity and your kids will have wonderful memories that they can cherish into adulthood. Here are a few of my favorite ideas to get you started.

1. Own a Special plate. My mom had this cool plate for us while we were growing up and I loved it. We got the privilege of using the special plate whenever we did something good (good grade, birthday, or just for the heck of it!) I always love this tradition and use it with my family now. You can buy it online or make your own at a pottery store.
2. Schedule Family Dinners as Part of your Weekly Schedule. I would love to say that my family eats at the table every night but that would be a lie. [Read more…]

How to Make Nut-free Granola

As part of The Great Purge of 2010, we’re on a Real Food regimen for the next few days. This means vegetarian, no wheat and minimally processed food. Diann, a Master Cleanse veteran has offered some advice:  have everything you need ready in advance. #wise

I’ve made a double batch of granola. It’s a no excuse simple recipe, really. And nut-free since I have a severe peanut and tree nut kid.

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey (I used local organic)

4 cups oats

2 cup raw sunflower seeds

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup diced apricots

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix oats and seeds and oil and honey thoroughly in a big bowl.

Pour into baking sheets. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes.

Cool for 5-10 minutes. Add fruit.

Store in airtight container.

I’ll be sharing any more ingenious quick and healthy recipes we come up with… but we could always use more so if you have any, leave a comment, will ya?

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon, co-creator of the Yoga Parenting course. Are you ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful?

How to Happy HALLOWEEN and Connect in the Kitchen

Kids love Halloween. I don’t know about yours, but mine love everything leading up to the big night as much as the trick or treating itself. Plans for what to wear begin as early as July. And no matter what ages your kids are, it’s always fun to get creative in the kitchen. Cooking is such a great way to connect.

Here are three super easy ideas that don’t take a lot of supplies, talent OR time. And they are SURE to be a hit with your tots to tweens.

Watch the 5 min video below and I’ll talk you through making each one. The segment was taped live on Oct 29th on the St. Louis morning show Great Day St. Louis. The cliff note version is below as well! 😉

Watermelon BRAIN: Just a small watermelon, [Read more…]

How to Entertain Your Kids on a Coupon Run

I wanted to talk about ways to keep your children entertained while on a coupon run. I always recommend that if possible avoid couponing with your kids, however that is not always possible. In fact for many of us shopping with our kids is our only option. I wanted to share with you some ideas for ways to make your experience positive for both you and your children.

I always look for inexpensive ways to reward my son as we shop. It is always amazing to me what entertains him and what simple steps I can do to “include” him in the process.

1. Make a shopping list for your child. I always make a special list for my son to carry at the store. He always wants my list so if he has his own it works out better for us. I include a few of his favorite items on the list and give him a pencil/crayon to mark of the items as we put them in the cart. [Read more…]

How to Have Fun With Everyday Items

Your family is stuck in the house on a rainy day and the kids are starting to fight because they’re bored.  What do you do? Look around you and use what you have in your own living room!  We sometimes think that kids need expensive toys and fancy items but the truth is, they love the simple things!  Learning to use every day items to entertain your children can be a lifesaver when your in a pinch.
I used to work with children with autism and provided them with many sensory exercises. While working with the children with special needs, I found their brothers, sisters, and classmates wanting to do the activities as well. Ibegan doing these activities with other kids and found they liked it just as much!   Sensory activities are great for helping children use their energy appropriately. [Read more…]

How to Make a Tex-Mex Dinner (Accidentally)

This recipe was a total mishap but it turns out to be one of my husband’s favorites!!  A couple of weeks ago we strayed from the menu because we were so wanting Chicken and Noodles.  So I put a split chicken in the crock pot in 2.5 cups of water and cooked it all night on low!!  It smelled so good!!  The next morning I was up shredding and picking the bones out of the chicken!  That is when the phone rang and we received a dinner invitation we could not refuse!  So I put a Ziploc bag of shredded chicken in the frig!!  The next day, I wanted to make sure I used the chicken…

Shel’s Accidental Tex Mex Dinner was born and it is so so EASY!!!

You need:
Spilt Chicken Breast
2 cans of RoTel Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 can Green Enchilada sauce
2 cans refried beans
1 bag of Kraft Mexi Cheese
Sour Cream
Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch
1 Santa Fe Rice

[Read more…]