By Emily Roberts MA, LPC
We love being a part oft the #StressLessSummer Series with Dr .Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young authors of Bloom! Brain Based Parenting. This week we are focusing the effects of summer foods on the brain, and it’s contribution to behaviors. Here are some tips to make your frozen treats better for your brain.
The summer heat can tempt us to reach for a cool treat, but beware of what lies beneath the wrapper. Even bars that are all natural and 100% fruit can cause tremendous changes to the brain and your child’s behavior.
The brain responds to the sugar overhaul by spiking blood sugar and excitatory neurotransmitters temporarily, leading to a behavioral “crash and burn.” Scientifically speaking, even after the first bite, our brain releases a surge of insulin. Often the pancreas is tired of doing this and it will ask the adrenals to help because a “load” of sugar has hit the body and it needs to be handled. This does cause an excitatory response in children, leading to behavioral bursts. If it is matched with a protein, the effect will be lessened Plain fruit without some protein to keep the sugar spikes at bay, can feel a pound of sugar to your little ones brain.
Store bought brands may be all fruit but lack the protein. Homemade, brain-friendly, bars are simple and so much better for you. Get creative and enlist your little one to help test out new recipes. Ziplock now makes Zipzicles, bags to that make homemade popsicles portable!
- Freeze your favorite Greek yogurt and fresh fruit or preserves, yogurt not only contains a ton of protein but probiotics for maintain a healthy gut.
- Want to go dairy-free, no problem, make a almond or rice milk-based smoothie and for some extra protein put in a few spoonfuls of nut butter, or protein powder in, along with frozen or fresh fruits (most kids can’t taste the protein powder if its blended well).
- Craving the islands? Coconut water, pineapple, a bit of protein powder and bananas (with a touch of agave nectar) is my favorite.
Share your family’s frozen favorites below!
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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