Kathy Krog, a dietician from Westville Hospital in Kwa Zulu Natal Durban has some very wise and pragmatic advice about diet and nutrition for those who have ADHD.
Here are some key points of her talk that I attended.
- Parents are in charge of their childrens' nutrition - the child is not in charge
- Children learn eating habits from us. If we ladle on the salt and sugar, so will our children.
- Breakfast is not negotiable and must consist of carbohydrate and protein to provide energy and balance the Glycaemic Load
Meals should be eaten at the table and parents should not finish their meal before the children. By telling our children to hurry up we are sending negative messages about food, causes guilt feelings and the time can be productively used to talk and bond.
- Make sure that children have a protein and carb snack at first break, protein and carbs at lunch, same in the afternoon and feed them early in the evening if necessary to stop them gettting hungry and whiny.
- If parents come home late, prepare the child's dinner the night before and plate it so they can eat as soon as they get home and won't snack on rubbish.
- Hunger causes mood swings because of fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
- Worrying about additives and supplements comes after good basic nutrition.Â
- Children need twice the kilojoules that adults need.
- Unless there is a history of cholesterol problems use full fat milk for children and eggs (including the yolks) are an excellent source of protein.
ADHD Medication and Food
Some ADHD medication does suppress the appetite so it is important to make sure that the child does eat regular balanced meals.
Give the children a shake or smoothie as an addition to the meals, not in place of, to help build up the child.
Tactile issues relating to food
Kathy says that tactile issues related to food are often caused by an under developed digestive system.
Kathy's Food Suggestions
- Cook porridge in milk to get a qood quality protein
- An egg a day will not do any harm unless there are cholesterol problems
- Cheese - cottage, mozarella
With a sandwich you have 2 slices bread so you need 2 proteins to keep it balanced
- Fish Fingers - grilled
- Hamburger patties - grilled
- Chicken Nuggets - grilled
- Tuna though lots of kids don't like fish.
- Cold meat
- Bread - Brown / Best of Both . Some children battle with the seeds in wholewheat
- Quinoa grains contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus and iron
- Samp and beans
- Potatoes, rice
- Pro Nutro
- Veggies - let the children nibble on raw veggies like carrots, red and yellow peppers, cucumbers etcÂ
- Fruits are carbohydrates and fruit juices should be dilutedÂ
- Use Pita breads and wraps to provide variety in the lunch boxes
- Limit desserts to special occasions.
- Peanut butter although high in fat is an excellent protein.Â
- Kathy described Nutella Choc spread as Peanut Butter mixed with syrup - not a good regular food choice.
To summarise, eat regular, balanced meals that will provide energy.
Know The Jargon - ADHD Acronyms
ADDer - a person who has ADHD or ADD
ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder
SCT - Sluggish Cognitive Tempo - a new name for ADD
ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder
CD - Conduct Disorder
OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Bi-polar - Bi-polar Disorder, used to be Manic-Depression
SPD - Sensory Processing Disorder
PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder
ACT - Action Consequence Trigger - monitoring forms devised and supplied by Living ADDventure®