Though it may be tempting to turn to the comforts of fast food or frozen pizza, remember that good nutrition can be a life saver. A balanced diet should sustain your energy levels during the day and help you sleep better at night. Choose foods with lots of complex carbohydrates, calcium and good fats, such as the following:
- Complex carbohydrates give you energy and may boost your brain's levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect. You can get your complex carb fix by eating whole-grain breads and pastas and starchy vegetables.
- Calcium has been shown to reduce tension and anxiety in some studies. You can find calcium in milk, many leafy vegetables and soy products.
- Omega-3s, which are found most commonly in fish, keeping your body running smoothly by maintaining your stress hormones at a manageable level. You can also find omega-3s in nuts and seeds.
In addition to helping you lead a healthier lifestyle, switching up your diet can be good for your kids, too. You might cook healthier meals, stock fewer sugary snacks or go out for burgers less. What's more, studies have shown that children often model their own eating habits after their parents' [source: Tibbs et al.]. What better reason to put down the French fries?