Healthy Diets for ADHD Kids

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You can choose to deal with the behavioral disorder ADHD in an assortment of ways. Some parents turn immediately to medical intervention, while others first explore behavioral or even dietary modification plans. If you are tasked with the challenge of parenting a child who suffers from ADHD, consider the impact that the diet you feed your child could have on his ability to control his behavior and deal with this potentially challenging disorder.


Protein and Concentration

By upping the amount of protein present in your child’s diet, you can potentially help him maintain focus longer, reports WebMD. Foods rich in protein keep children full longer, preventing hunger from leading them to distraction. Additionally, protein-rich foods make it easier for the child’s body to maintain proper glucose levels, a balance that is vital to ADHD symptom control.

Nighttime Complex Carb Consumptions

If your ADHD child has particular trouble heading off to bed each night, consider providing him with a nighttime dose of complex carbohydrates. By giving your child a bedtime snack that consists of carb-rich vegetables and fruits, you may make it easier for him to settle down and get the rest that he needs to maintain focus during the day. These foods, like proteins, take more work for the body to digest, keeping your child’s digestive system busy during the night and making the task of sleeping easier for the ADHD-afflicted kid.

The Sugar Myth

When many think of hyperactivity-inducing foods, sugar immediately comes to mind. While a diet rich in sugar is not ideal for an ADHD child, or any child for that matter, there is no scientific evidence to link sugar consumption to the development of ADHD, reports WebMD. Limiting or eliminating sugar-rich foods from your child’s diet is not a bad idea, but doing so will likely not solve your child’s ADHD-related issues.

The Feingold Approach

The Feingold Approach to behavior modification through dietary restriction was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Benjamin Feingold, an allergy specialist at Kaiser Permanente. Those who follow this approach believe that many of the behavioral issues that children currently have stem from diets rich in artificial ingredients, including colorings and preservatives. In developing this approach, Feingold equated these food additives to chemicals, such as drugs and alcohol, stating that they can have a major impact on the body’s ability to function. The Feingold diet is highly restrictive in nature, and calls for the removal of almost all unnatural food products from the child’s diet. Because of the restrictive nature of this diet, keeping children on a diet of this type may present a challenge when the child reaches school age and has access to food outside the home.

Experimentation for Balance

Because not all forms of ADHD are the same, not all dietary approaches to controlling ADHD can be the same. To manage ADHD through diet modification effectively, you will likely have to go through a long period of experimentation, adding and removing dietary elements, one at a time, to see what impact each food piece has on your child and his ADHD symptoms. If you are committed to using dietary modification as a means of ADHD control, be prepared for this trial-and-error process, and move through the testing phase systematically, carefully noting any behavioral changes so that you can see what impact diet has on your ADHD sufferer.

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