Reading all of the online information about ADHD in children can overwhelm even the best of scholars. Since every ADHD child is the same but different, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact plan for what you should or shouldn’t do. What works for one child may not work for another.
Why is a Diet for ADHD Children Important?
The good news is that the diet for ADHD children is one of the most easiest parts of an ADHD treatment. The only hard part about the diet plan is getting parents, guardians, and children to follow along. It is way too easy to give a child what he wants when he is looking at you with tears streaming down his face. The bottom line is that if you are feeding your ADHD child the wrong foods, you are hurting him mentally and emotionally. In fact, the wrong types of foods can even cause him to hurt someone else physically.
Diet for ADHD Children
Let’s get right down to the diet you should follow for ADHD children. I have learned some of this from the basic information that is spread across the world wide web. The rest of the information I have figured out by trial and error over the past three years. My hopes in sharing this information with you is that you won’t have to wait three years to figure out what the best diet for your ADHD child truly is.
It is common knowledge that sugar should not be eaten. It is also known that red, orange, and blue dyes should be avoided. This was all we were told when we made our appointment with an ADHD doctor three years ago. I stuck to this for sometime before I realized this diet wasn’t cutting it! There had to be more to it than this.
Knowledge I’ve Gained
- Since I wasn’t supposed to give my child sugar, I turned to sugar substitutes. This was a horrible idea. The sugar substitutes caused anger outbursts along with emotional breakdowns. Bottom line – stay away from sugar and sugar substitutes!
- Another thing I learned was that not all natural sugars are the same. For instance, pure maple syrup, molasses and sorghum are all natural, right? Okay, they are, but these natural sugars seem to work the same as refined sugars inside their body. So, none of these types of sweeteners either.
- There is sugar in everything – well, mostly. It took a while for me to realize, but school food contains hidden sugars I never would have dreamed. For instance, did you know that corn dogs and chili in the school cafeteria contain sugar? I didn’t, either. You will have to check the school’s lunch menu each day and send your child’s lunch on the days they have foods containing sugar. You may not know just by looking and some research may be involved, but it will be worth it.
- Preservatives are also a big issue. Learn to read product labels and steer clear of as many artificial colors and preservatives as you can. I’ve found it nearly impossible to eliminate them all, but do as much as you can. Fix fresh foods at home and you’ll be better off. This also means very little fast food too.
- Children’s medicines are also hidden culprits. The liquid medicines are filled with sugars and dyes. If your child needs over the counter medications for some issues, try to find dye-free sugar-free medicines. The chewables and melt-aways have less.
- Since we are talking about medicines, I want to add that the chemicals in medicines can also affect your child. Even antibiotics can have an affect. My son tends to become more agitated, grumpy, and short tempered near the end of his antibiotics.
- Carbs can act like sugars in your child. Since carbs convert to sugar in your body, you will have to be careful about giving him too many carbs during the day unless you add protein with it (more on that below).
- Chocolate is a big no-no! Not only does it have sugar, but it also causes a chemical imbalance in your child. I don’t know all the technical stuff – I just know to stay away from it.
- One last tip – stay away from all dyes. They are all artificial and are not good for your child.
What is Good to Eat?
Protein will be your friend. I say that funny, but it is wonderful for ADHD children. The protein helps your child. If possible, give your child protein two meals a day, preferably three, or at least for snacks. The protein helps them to focus and calms then down. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Try a serving of almonds, a half of peanut butter sandwich, cheese, eggs, milk, or even soup beans – anything with protein. It doesn’t have to be all meat.
Sweets That Work
My child can eat honey and agave nectar. I have made so many different recipes with these two ingredients I couldn’t tell you all of them in a year. I will say that not all children can eat these two sweeteners and you may have to try them a few times to see if your child can tolerate them. I believe they will if you use small quantities and don’t over load your child on them. My son eats one or the other about two times a week and does fine. If he eats them everyday, I can tell a small change, but it is minor.
Some foods we fix with these sweeteners include:
- apple pie
- banana nut bread
- pumpkin bread
- strawberry pie
- French toast
- almond tea cakes
- cheese cake
- vanilla wafers
- and many, many more
You can see from the list above that your child won’t be suffering when you chose to give him no sugar or sugar substitutes. Instead, he will be eating healthier than ever, and if you chose to eat it along with him, the whole family will benefit!