If you have a child or children with ADHD, knowing how to plan diets for children with ADHD may be very helpful. Although diets for children with ADHD can be very controversial, there are some beneficial diet changes that may help the child focus better and increase their attention span. It is important to discuss any proposed diet changes for children with ADHD with a medical health professional.
Before you start you will need:
- A list of diet changes that may be beneficial for children with ADHD
- A menu planner
- Approval from the child’s doctor of the proposed diet changes
- What types of diets are proposed for children with ADHD? There are three types of diets that are most commonly discussed when it comes to planning diets for children with ADHD. The three types of diets are the overall nutrition diet, the supplementation diet and the elimination diet.
- Examine your child’s diet for nutrition. Check to see if your child’s diet includes foods high in protein like nuts and meat, complex carbs such as fruits and vegetable and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and tuna.
- What is a supplementation diet? If there are not enough nutrients in their diet, children with ADHD may need a supplement. Taking a multi-vitamin every day to help cover for deficiencies in the child’s diet may lessen symptoms.
- What is an elimination diet? If food allergies are suspected as a cause for children with ADHD, the suspected foods need to be eliminated one-by-one until the culprit is found. When a food is eliminated and symptoms begin to lessen, that food should be avoided. Some of the most common allergy-causing offenders are yellow and red food coloring, sugar, monosodium glutamate, and aspartame. Caffeine, on the other hand, may lessen the symptoms of ADHD. This is not surprising since many of the drugs given to children with ADHD are considered “uppers” or stimulants.
- Knowing how to plan a diet for children with ADHD can be very helpful in cutting down or eliminating symptoms. Before making any changes to the diet, however, be sure to talk to the doctor about the things you want to change. Discuss any possible supplements and obtain prescriptions for them, if necessary. Be sure to corroborate with the doctor regarding any changes that occur so proper testing can be done, if necessary. Keep a diary to show the doctor, including information on whether the change in the diet had good or bad results.
- In addition to dietary changes, there are other important factors to consider. Make sure the child is getting enough sleep and exercise, and is taking their prescribed medication. Drinking plenty of water is also important. Organic foods help prevent the child from ingesting any chemicals that may exacerbate the condition. Encourage the child to eat “tons” of fresh fruits and vegetables. Discuss giving your child an herbal supplement with the doctor to help with concentration and anxiety. Remember, following these tips on how to plan diets for children with ADHD may improve your child’s daily living.
Tip: The better you know your child’s symptoms, the easier it will be for you to recognize when changes occur.