One of the first things one should do before getting into meal planning is to understand thoroughly what to avoid and what to include when it comes to ADHD patients. Spend some time to understand portion sizes and serving information, and learn to read labels. This helps you to figure out hidden information particularly about sugar, fats, and food additives. Doctors will recommend eating fresh home cooked food as much as possible. So it’s best to plan and prepare menus in advance so that meals can be prepared accordingly. Mentioned below are some dietary tips for managing ADHD.
- Print out a list of foods that are safe for ADHD patients and make a comprehensive list of items that you can make with one ingredient. This can be split into items that are suitable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- One of the key guidelines that should be kept in mind when it comes to dietary tips for managing ADHD is that 50% of the menu should contain fruits and vegetables, 25% with lean protein, and 25% with complex carbs.
- Include more protein in breakfast, and include more complex carbs, vegetables, or lean meat in lunch. Snacks can be fruit, yogurt, a bowl of trail mix, toasted chickpeas, and so on. If the meals have lesser calories during the day or are less in fiber, you can plan dinner in such a way that day’s requirements are balanced.
- Include 3 to 4 vegetables and fruits every day. This can be spread such that fruit can be consumed in the morning, while steamed vegetables can be had for lunch and salads for dinner. You can ensure that the same vegetables or fruits are not repeated often. This way you get to include as many vegetables from each group as possible in a week. Try to include lean meat twice or thrice during lunch and the rest during dinner.
- The general perception is that every meal needs a dessert. Seasonal fruits or a bowl of fresh fruit make for an ideal dessert. You can plan for some low fat and low sugar dessert twice a week. If you are purchasing them, it’s best to check the labels to avoid food with additives, hidden sugar, and unhealthy fats.
- One of the most important dietary tips for managing ADHD is to involve the person affected – be it your child or an adult in the family. This is so that they too feel committed towards the plan. When this is done week after week, it helps them to accept the dietary changes more easily. Over time, you will see lesser resistance and more participation.
Once the initial meal planning is complete, prepare grocery lists and go shopping. Doctors would have given you a list of things to eat and things to avoid. Keep this list handy while shopping and always read labels before you buy condiments, spices, dips, and sauces.