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Well-Balanced Meals Help Create Well-Balanced Relationships

Well-Balanced Meals Help Create Well-Balanced Relationships

In Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 western, The Wild Bunch, Pike (William Holden), Dutch (Ernest Borgnine), and Deke (Robert Ryan) were former members of a bank- and train-robbing gang in the late 1800s. But the Wild West changed. By 1913 Deke was a bounty hunter pitted against his old gang. Bullets flew when Pike and Dutch tried one last heist. A pretty wild bunch for sure. But why the animosity Deke?

According to researchers in Germany, what we eat has a lot to do with how we interact socially. For instance, a breakfast loaded with refined carbohydrates and few proteins was found to increase “social punishment behavior”! Well, that morning donut might explain why Deke went after his old buds, Pike and Dutch, for trying to rob a bank. Maybe that conflict between old friends was the consequence of a Wild Brunch.

This new insight into the relationship of diet to behavior also highlights the importance of a well-balanced meal for school-aged children. It’s why healthy food efforts, such as Michelle Obama’s Healthy School Lunch program, which promotes meals that are low carbohydrate, high protein, contain more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk products and less sodium and fat, should be championed, not challenged. Healthy, balanced meals are a good way to help kids achieve productive social interactions, avoid conflicts and display what the researchers called “fundamental expressions of cognition.”

So, if you want your kids and you to have more positive social and cognitive interactions, ditch the wild brunch and go with the balanced lunch.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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