Most parents understand that food battles are part of raising children, but parents of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can struggle to convince their children to eat enough, according to registered dietitian David Feder, writing for "ADDitude," a magazine dedicated to attention disorders. Certain foods can help a child with ADHD focus and concentration better. You should, however, speak with your child's doctor about the risks and benefits of using food as a potential treatment option.
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Protein Is Powerful
Snacks rich in protein can help a child with ADHD focus and concentrate for longer periods of time, according to Feder. Crackers with nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter, is one example of a portable school snack rich in protein. A handful of nuts or seeds, such as pecans, cashews or pumpkin seeds, is another protein-rich idea. Lean meat, such as white-meat chicken or turkey, wrapped in a piece of low-fat cheese is also a good protein snack that packs well to take to school.
Load Up on Omega-3s
Feder suggests foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids for children with ADHD because this nutrient increases brain function and can boost memory. Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and they are easy to transport to school, too. Ground flaxseeds are another good source of omega-3s, and you can add these to homemade muffins or bread, two items that are portable enough to take to school.
Get More Complex
Complex carbohydrates, especially ones that contain fiber, may help children with ADHD because they prevent rapid blood sugar spikes, Feder notes. Fresh fruits and vegetables are examples of complex carbohydrates, and many varieties, such as apples and carrots, pack well in a backpack, too. A whole-grain pita with hummus or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-wheat bread are additional ideas. Dried fruits, nuts, seeds and whole-grain crackers are a few more complex carbohydrates that can be easily be taken to school.
Certain Nutrients Are Key
A nutrient-dense diet is important for all children, but increasing the intake of certain vitamins and minerals for children with ADHD can help increase focus. According to Feder, zinc, iron and magnesium can help a child with ADHD concentrate better. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains are good sources of these nutrients. Dried fruits supply these nutrients, too. Lean meat is another good source, so consider sending whole-grain crackers with white-meat chicken or lean roast beef for a healthy snack.