One area that has become near and dear to my heart is working with children with behavioral problems. I am blessed to get to lead a group that helps parents with children with behavioral problems learn how to use nutrition as a integral part of the overall treatment plan. We now know that improving your child’s behavior is not just about discipline. Eating a well balanced diet with adequate protein an nutrients supports optimal brain function. Proper brain function regulates attention span, learning, and understanding of your environment. Extensive research has shown that a child who eats a well balanced diet is less likely to experience problems with attention span, hyperactivity, and impulse control.
Tip #1: Provide Protein for Breakfast
Skipping breakfast or providing a breakfast weak in protein sets your child up to suffer with lower brain function, mood issues, and hyperactivity. Protein and other nutrients helps to regulate all the things your body needs to regulate its response. A high carbohydrate breakfast (Cereal, orange juice, banana or Pop-Tart) causes insulin in your body to spike then crash causing anxiousness, anger, aggression, hyperactivity.
*Whole wheat toast with 1tbsp all natural peanut butter
(Jif Natural-$1.99 small jar Walmart/Large Jar (40oz)$3.29 Target)
*2 eggs scrambled with fruit; banana, grape, or apple
*1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 Tbsp peanut butter, cinnamon, 1tsp 2 tsp brown sugar
(Quaker oats $2.99 Walmart, Brown sugar $1.99 Walmart/Target)
Tip #2: Provide a High Protein Diet
Research into diets for the treatment of ADHD found that a high protein diet can improve symptoms including behavior, attention span, and social function. Try to provide some form of protein at every meal.
Tip#3: Limit Processed Foods
In order to process foods to allow them to be sold inexpensively and last longer the manufacturer has found that certain chemicals used and found else where provide this function. We do not know the long term effects of ingesting these chemicals. Processing has only been in full swing since the late 70’s. Children born in the 1970’s are the first full generation to live on a diet that is highly processed.
Tip#4: Boost Omega-3 Intake
Research shows that children diagnosed with ADHD have lower levels of Omega-3 (Fish oil). In the study, the children were given a multi-vitamin with omega-3, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D. These children showed improved attention span, improved activity transition, improved vocabulary, and reading ability compared to the group that did not get the dietary additive.
Tip#5: Eliminate/Limit Food Additives and Dyes
The FDA has admitted that synthetic food dyes “can have a detrimental effect on some children’s behavior” but it rejected putting warning labels on foods. The simple solution to avoid chemicals in your kid’s food is to eliminate processed and packaged foods, and always read ingredients: Look for Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Blue #1, Blue #2, Green #3, BHT, TBHX, BHA, and sodium benzoate and avoid them.
**A study in The Lancet (World’s leading medical journal) showed that food additives can trigger hyperactive behavior in children without previous behavior problems. The study led the European Union to require cautionary labeling about synthetic dyes on food products.Pin It