If you are a parent of a child living with ADHD, you won’t be a stranger to the comment “Have you tried the diet?” Like diet is the answer to curing ADHD. Wow, if only it was THAT simple.
Although diet won’t ‘cure’ ADHD it can sometimes help with some of the intensity of the traits of ADHD.
This, of course, is very child dependant and with some people changing diet will make no difference but with others, it will make a huge difference.
The following ways may or may not help but even if they don’t help, they will help to have a healthier home in general.
Tip #1 – The most important thing to understand is as much as adults are all different and our bodies process foods in different ways, children are the same. Some children living with ADHD respond well to a very strict gluten, diary preservative free diet but others don’t respond differently at all. It is all trial and error and you should do what works the best.
Tip #2 – Decide if you are going to just eliminate a few types of foods or you are going to strip the diet back to bare basics and start from scratch. This will be able to help you decide whether you need help from a dietician or whether you can just do some basic research on where to start.
Tip #3 – If you are interested in seeing if the diet makes a difference then the best and easiest way to start is just purely eliminating colours and numbers. I have found a fantastic app called “the Chemical Maze” that you can download and when you are in the supermarket you can check the numbers on the package in this app. This app will then tell you what side effects these numbers may give you. This app is approximately $10 and trust me, coming from someone who doesn’t normally purchase apps, it is most money I have every spent on an app but it is so worth it.
Tip # 4 – Another simple tip to use is when you are shopping in a supermarket, generally if you keep to the outside aisles of the centre you will find the least amount of processed foods. These are the ones to stick to. An important note – there can be preservatives in grated cheese but not in block cheese so it is best to purchase the block cheese and then grate if yourself. Little things like this can make a huge difference.
Tip # 5 – If you are going to try the diet to see if it changes things then do it everywhere. Make sure that if daycare provides the meals that you speak to them and see what is prepared and provide meals where you need to. Most daycare centres make their own meals and don’t contain any preservatives. Provide food at friend’s places and take your own food to a party. If you see a difference in behaviour it is well worth it.
If you choose to look at the diet to help with ADHD, it can be a bit of a challenge initially. If you do it through a dietician it can be a lot of hard work and commitment so you will need to be supported in every way possible.
If you find that diet help some traits, then it will be very helpful going forward. If you can do the hard yards initially and learn the food triggers it will be so worth it and you won’t look back.