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Diet and the ADHD Child

Making sure your child has a healthy balance of nutrient-rich foods is a constant concern for a loving parent. If your child has trouble focusing, acts impulsively, is hyperactive or fidgety, your child may be dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Whether or not your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, the common symptoms of the disorder are present in most school-aged children, varying in duration and intensity, and may severely affect your child’s ability to function socially and academically. Poor diet choices may be a contributing factor to the symptoms of ADHD in your child. A few simple modifications to your child’s diet may go a long way toward improving concentration, memory, and supporting brain function and development.

Research shows that diets high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids help to improve concentration and support brain function, while sugary snacks and packaged foods high in preservatives should be avoided. Consider these four important diet suggestions:

Pack in the Protein: Adding beans, cheese, nuts, and eggs to your child’s breakfast and after-school snacks can improve concentration. For a child that takes daily medication, they can help increase the duration and effectiveness of her prescription. A diet high in protein will keep your child fueled during a rigorous day at school, and adding protein to an after-school snack will keep her going for extra brainpower while she does her homework.

Cut out simple carbohydrates: While it may be impossible to monitor your child’s every move throughout the day, eliminating candy, sugary snacks, corn syrup, white flour, and white rice whenever possible is a good idea for optimal brain health. Removing snacks and food items from your home may be the best way to help your child reduce her intake of simple carbohydrates.

Boost the intake of complex carbohydrates: Fill your child’s diet with fresh fruits and vegetables; apples, oranges, grapes, pears and kiwi are a great sweet snack. Colorful vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and spinach are an excellent source of antioxidants that protect brain cells and keep them strong. Think about the plate when dishing up meals—half should be vegetables, a quarter proteins, and a quarter carbohydrates.

Consider an Omega-3: The fatty acids found in tuna, salmon and other coldwater fish are essential to your child’s diet. Omega-3 effects the transmission of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin that help brain cells to communicate throughout the brain. Consuming 12 ounces of fish a week is recommended for a child showing symptoms of ADHD (two meals). Omega-3 is also found in walnuts, Brazil nuts, and both olive and canola oils. If you have trouble fitting these important fatty acids into your child’s diet, consider Omega-3 in supplement form.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects up to ten percent of children in the United States. Eating a balanced diet may be the best way to help your child manage the symptoms of ADHD and supply the brain with the tools it needs to succeed. For more information about diet and the ADHD child, consider these helpful articles:

Contentment for Christmas

It seems like the starting line for Christmas gets earlier every year. Stores whip out their decorations the day after Halloween or sometimes sooner. Shoppers start gearing up for black Friday sales the first week in November, and if you don’t have your Christmas cards ordered before Thanksgiving, you’re late! It also means that kids seem to get major cases of  “the gimmies” sooner rather than later in the year.
As parents, we want to give our children everything they need and so many things they want. We don’t want them to feel like they are missing out on the next big thing or deprived because we were lacking in one way or the other. However, where do you draw the line? Here are 3 tips for helping you and your children feel content this Christmas:

Keep it Simple

Instead of wandering aimlessly through store aisles waiting for something to jump out at you as the perfect gift, plan ahead. Spend some quiet time away from the noise and advertisements really thinking about what your child wants and needs. If you need a starting point for your list, give this rule of thumb a try: One gift they want, one they need, one gift you’ll make, and one that they’ll read.

Service with a Smile

Phillip Moller who wrote the book How to Live to 100, quotes Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota. Synder explains, "People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness. All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health and even their longevity." Helping our children look outside of themselves is replete with benefits. Some benefits may include a greater awareness of other’s needs and a greater tendency to count their own blessings. Show your children how to serve by your example and give them an extra push if need be. If nothing else, donating old clothes and toys will at least make some room for Santa’s loot come Christmas morning.

Less Money, More Time

We hear it over and over again, but we still find ourselves thinking that something new from the store will be better appreciated than time with mom and dad. However in a recent MTV/Associated Press survey, 1,280 young people were asked to identify what makes them happy. For almost three quarters of those asked, spending time with and building a relationship with their parents was their top answer. For more information about this subject, please read the article on the Parental Rights website. To help your child feel more content this Christmas, take fewer trips to the mall, and create more evenings at home together. Warm up some hot chocolate, break out the board games, and crank up your favorite holiday tunes. Your children, and your wallet, will thank you.