Food, mood and behaviour

Regular eating

If a child eats regularly and has a varied diet, it can have a positive effect on mood, behaviour, learning and anything else. This is because the food we eat affects our “brain chemistry”

We have three resources that you can look at if you want to know more:

And here for a video on food and mood, and how to understand and influence children’s food choices

And follow this link for more on how diet can affect health and wellbeing


Brain foods

Some foods contain a high level of nutrients that are “Brain selective”. This means they play important roles in brain development and function. Here are some examples of where you can find a high level of these nutrients:

Rich SourceNutrientBrain effectsAlternative source – often lower amounts
Green vegetablesMagnesium and folic acidThese are important for mood. Magnesium may help reduce anxiety.Magnesium is also found in brown bread, bananas, porridge, seeds, peanut butter.Folic acid is also found in some breakfast cereals, bananas, lentils, beans and oranges
Red meat & eggsIron and ZincIron affects mood and attention. Zinc helps with attention and sleep.Iron can be found in breakfast cereals, lentils and green vegetables.
Oily fishOmega 3Mood, attention and sleep.Rapeseed oil. Leafy green vegetables. Flaxseeds. Supplements.
Milk, yogurt, eggs and fishIodineFor brain development.Supplements or fortified foods (some milk substitutes)
Fruit, vegetables, beans, pulses & wholegrain foodsFibreHelps keep blood sugar levels even and feeds “healthy bugs” in our gut that affect our mood.Only found in foods of plant origin. Often removed or reduced during processing.
Sunshine from April to SeptemberVitamin DNot just for strong bones, but our immune system and mood too.Supplements. Oily fish. 

Remember that eating regularly is also important for good mood too!