Eat the right foods to keep you happy this winter

The winter can be a time when many people experience the blues. This is because in many parts of the U.S., the winter means there is less sunlight, and insufficient exposure to the sun's rays may make a person feel sadder than they would on a bright day. However, there's no reason to worry, because with the right amount of vitamins and nutrients you can help beat the winter blues.

Recently, The Herald, a newspaper based out of Ireland, published some tips on how to eat to avoid feeling sad during the colder months. This country is notorious for it's cloud cover, so people from the northern parts of the U.S. should listen to their expertise.

Vitamins and antioxidants

First, the news source recommended that people consume more fish during the colder months. This makes sense, considering that salmon is one of the few foods that is rich in vitamin D, a nutrient that are our body produces in response to exposure to sunlight. The Herald added that insufficient vitamin D may contribute to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), where people feel blue during the winter months.

Also, bananas may help fight off the depressive effects of winter. The natural sugars in this fruit are released into the bloodstream and may help you feel more energized. For double the benefits, you may consider trying bananas dipped in dark chocolate. Chocolate is packed with antioxidants, and has been shown to activate feel-good receptors in the brain.

Eggs and walnuts are other foods that you may to seek out, since these are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids that may not only boost your mood, but also your cardiovascular health.

Snacks to avoid

So now that you know the foods that may enhance your mood, you should also know the ones to avoid. WebMD cited a study called the Coronary Health Improvement Project, which found that people who decreased the amount of saturated fat they consumed experienced a boost in their mood. This suggests you should avoid fried snacks and junk foods if you want to fight off winter sadness.

Also, while alcohol may produce a temporary feeling of euphoria, it's actually a depressant, so try to limit how much you drink, particularly in the winter. Finally, consuming too much caffeine may disrupt your sleep at night, and cause you to feel cranky in the morning, so cut back on the coffee after 2 p.m.

Read more

Best foods for healthy kids


Healthy eating isn't just important for adults, but children as well. Parents have to pay very close attention to what their children eat, since their developing brains require a lot of vitamins and minerals to grow and function. However, it can be challenging to get kids to eat healthy foods, since they tend to be very picky. Luckily, there are many dishes that are simple to make, delicious for parents and children alike, and packed with nutrients.

For example, Parenting Magazine recently published an article listing "superfoods" that children should (and will want to) eat.

Most important meal of the day

First, WebMD states that while adults need breakfast to do their best at work, children need it even more. Their growing brains and bodies depend on food, which it's why it's important for kids to eat regularly, including in the morning.

Keeping that in mind, Parenting listed many healthy foods that can also be used at breakfast. For example, the news source pointed out that eggs are a great source of protein and vitamin D. Protein will help children feel full and focused throughout the morning, and vitamin D is essential for bone health.

Along with eggs, parents may want to consider cooking oatmeal for their children in the morning. This food is rich in fiber, which is digested slowly and can provide kids with energy throughout the day. If your child seems a little resistant to oatmeal, then sprinkle some brown sugar and healthy nuts on it, like walnuts or almonds. These legumes contain omega-3 fatty acids, which may boost brain health and help feel kids focused.

Fruits and veggies are key

Along with important sources of fiber and protein such as eggs and oatmeal, it's important to make sure that kids get healthy fruits and vegetables. For example, blueberries are a great source of antioxidants, and many kids love their sweet taste. Another great fruit for kids are tomatoes, which contain lycopene to benefit heart health. Pair tomatoes with olive oil, which is both delicious and is full of omega-3 fatty acids.

Culinate has a list of healthy vegetables kids will love. For example, even though broccoli is one of the most notoriously kid-hated foods, studies have shown that changing what you call this veggie will help, so try calling them "dinosaur trees" and pairing them with a bit of low-fat cheese. Also, kids will go for carrots, artichokes, zucchini and basically anything if you pair it with ranch dressing. Just be sure to choose the low-fat variety.

Read more