Your Anger Management Menu

By Frances Largeman-Roth, RDFood and Nutrition Expert, New York Times best-selling author

Posted on | By Frances Largeman-Roth, RD

Do you find yourself snapping at your daughter when she’s dragging her heels getting ready for school? Maybe you find yourself losing patience with a coworker just before lunch or lashing out at your husband around dinnertime. Believe it or not, eating specific foods at certain times of the day can actually help keep your mood in check.

We’ve all reached for a pint of rocky road ice cream after a bad break-up, and that can feel good for the moment, but you’ll likely feel worse afterward. The foods I’m talking about actually have a beneficial impact on your body, and are good examples of using food as medicine. Just like some foods can help keep you alert, others can help calm you down. The right foods affect your basic body chemistry to help even out blood sugar, blood pressure, and even neurotransmitters that send signals to your brain.  

A Day’s Worth of Anger Management Foods 

I’ve put together a list of foods based on the time of day so you can reach for something to calm yourself down based on when you need it the most. You don’t need to eat all the foods on the list each day.

Breakfast: Kiwi 

If you’re losing your temper in the morning, you’re likely experiencing ongoing stress, which means that your body is dealing with major oxidative damage. Vitamin C is one of our most powerful antioxidants and since our bodies can't make it, we need to get a daily influx of it. One cup of kiwi fruit gives you a powerful antioxidant boost with more than 100% of the RDA of vitamin C. And it’s only 110 calories, so you can pair it with a low-fat yogurt and a tablespoon of nuts. Since heat and light break down vitamin C, it's best to slice kiwi up fresh just before eating it. Learn more ways to get an energy and nutritional boost from kiwi.

Mid-Morning Snack: Pumpkin Seeds

Adults think mid-morning snacks are just for kids, but many of us get cranky around this time. It could be due to skipping breakfast, or perhaps you only managed to have a skimpy bite while running out the door. By around 10-11 am, your body needs a hit of nutrients to keep you level until you can take a lunch break. I like to keep pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) on hand because they’re portable and non-perishable, and they’re also packed with the mineral magnesium, which helps you relax by regulating blood pressure. They’re naturally very low in sugar, so you won’t have a sugar crash before heading to lunch.

Article written by Frances Largeman-Roth, RD
Food and Nutrition Expert, New York Times best-selling author