Diet for Children With ADHD – Does it Work?

What is the best diet for children with ADHD?

Many parents who have children with ADHD have successfully improved the symptoms and hyperactivity through diet. I, too, have found that cutting out certain foods and eating a “clean” diet has improved the ADHD symptoms in my children.

If you think about the uniqueness and special qualities of our ADHD children, it’s only natural they need a quality diet to help them perform at peak levels. Our kids have gifts that other children don’t possess. They have endless energy, they solve problems unlike other kids and they are out-of-the box thinkers. These incredible kids are like a thoroughbred…high energy, high maintenance, and hard to control. They require top quality sources of energy to utilize and optimize their amazing traits.

Our bodies were created to consume food, not synthetic food, not genetically modified food, not highly processed food and not food-like products…not food that has been altered to be fat free or low fat, less sugar or sugar-free. Any food that has been altered, likely has an additive to replace what was changed, either to give it density, improve the taste or maintain it’s consistency.

Make sure you are sitting down because this is going to shock you…I even allow my kids sugar, yes, dreaded sugar… organic sugar in homemade strawberry lemonade is better than a soda with high fructose corn syrup on any day!! Also, I have never forbidden any food because they have ADHD. We have eliminated certain foods from our family because these foods are not “real” food, and not healthy for any of us. Human nature is funny, because as soon as you forbid or ban a food, it’s the first thing you want and you start to feel deprived, then depressed and then isolated because it seems like everyone else around you can have it but you. I simply don’t buy it and the kids never know it’s been “banned”, and to clarify, it’s not banned for life, it’s banned on a daily basis. Birthday cake, hot dogs and soda aren’t ideal, but they are staples of birthday parties and backyard BBQ’s. We enjoy, we plan around them for the day, and then we get back to real food the next day.

I personally do not follow any particular named diet but there are ways you can help your ADHD child perform well. For us, it’s eating REAL food.  The closer to the earth, the better, which means the less processed and altered, the better it is for you.

What foods to avoid for ADHD? (These are the things we avoid and they work for us)

Additives
Preservatives
Processed foods
High fructose corn syrup

Below are other food items to avoid to improve ADHD.

Gluten
Dairy

Other Great Recipes

Besides Strawberry Lemonade, my kids also love homemade bread, and my fresh salsa better known as “Hippie Hot Sauce”. You can find these recipes at https://adhd-naturally.com/nutritionholistic or click on their link above.

ADHD-Naturally provides education on CBD and other natural alternatives to pharmaceutical medications. We believe that by prioritizing and maximizing self image and bringing the body to homeostasis, ADHD symptoms can be managed and improved to create overall wellbeing in the person and within the family unit as a whole.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Laurel

    I’m not surprised that this is the same diet recommended for bipolar disorder and other mental health issues. I’m thrilled that more evidence is coming out connecting diet to behaviour. These changes can make a huge difference!

  2. Ranae

    I know, the struggle is real. Start small, by replacing only one item at a time. I found Lays or Ruffles potato chips (Plain) only have potatoes, oil and salt as ingredients. Instead of sodas, make homemade lemonade or the homemade strawberry lemonade (you can find the recipe under Nutrition/Holistic). Simply replace something artificial with something real and it will likely taste better too. Best of luck to you. Hope you have a fantastic day.

  3. Melani

    This is a very useful article especially for me who have an ADHD daughter. I found that is very difficult to ban my daughter eat food with additives, preservatives,processed foods, gluten and dairy. Do you have tips about that?

  4. Ranae

    Thanks so much! There are so many combinations for ADHD peak performance, but especially elimating anything artificial. Once those toxins are gone, focus on other foods that may be contributing to poor focus, mood swings, or hyperactivity. Some do well with gluten others don’t, same with dairy. Chocolate milk may be a problem, not because it’s dairy, but due to the artificial flavors. It’s a trial and error process. Best of luck to you and thanks for the kind words. Hope you have a great day.

  5. Mila

    Your post is amazing! Very informative. I have a friend who has ADHA and he cannot eat gluten, too but he doesn’t know about not eating dairy. I will ask him to check out this blog!

  6. Ranae

    Thanks James! I know, seems like everyone should know this. Thanks again!

  7. James

    The thing that you mentioned above should be standard parts of a child’s diet anyway. But we all know that there a parents out there that don’t have a clue when it comes to child’s diet and some times Dinner can be a bag of chips in in front of the television. It is sad to see that same children only have one proper cooked meal a day and that is at school.

    Your advise above would be a great starting point for parents.

    Thanks

  8. Ranae

    Yes, even ADHD is diagnosed more and more now….and it makes you wonder if it’s being over-diagnosed or if the food-like things we are eating is contributing to additional kids having these symptoms. Thanks for your feedback. Have a great day!!

  9. Ranae

    So glad you asked…Red 40 (food coloring) makes children with ADHD (think hyperactive, happy squirrels) turn into rabid, Tasmanian devils. It amplifies many of the qualities schools get so frustrated over…such as lack of focus and hyperactivity. Thanks for your feedback. Have a great day!

  10. Ronnie Jordan

    Very good info. I am not too familiar with dealing with ADHD but I believe you about what you eat. Many illnesses we see now was not back in my grandparents days because they were not consuming what we do know. I really like though how you plan around certain activities and not shut your kids out totally. But when it is done you go back to the plan.

  11. Ranae

    Thanks so much! I will look into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet…sounds interesting.

  12. Penny

    Interesting – what exactly about the foods with additives and crappy ingredients makes ADHD in kids worse? It makes sense that eliminating this stuff is good for everyone but I wonder what specifically bothers people with ADHD? It’s great that you and your family found something that works for you, and your kids can eliminate stuff without feeling deprived!

  13. Angela

    Thanks for the great information that few doctors would suggest! Have you ever heard of using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for autism? I’d love to see a post about the difference it can make!

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