It’s that time of year again – month after month of holidays that revolve around food. Candy corn and bite-sized chocolate bars, turkey and stuffing, pumpkin and apple pies, latkes, and candy cane cookies. (Notice I didn’t mention fruitcake.)
So it’s a great time to talk about food and ADHD so you’re prepared to make healthy choices that support your ADHD.
[NOTE: I’m not telling you to abstain from all the delicious goodness. But you have ADHD. And that means you need to make conscious choices to make sure you’re not adding to your symptoms.]
The Worst ADHD Diet
The worst ADHD diet encourages brain chaos. If you don’t eat right, you’ll be more distracted, restless, and impulsive. The wrong diet can make you look like you have adult attention deficit even if you don’t.
And if you take attention-deficit medication, the worst ADHD diet might make you need a higher dose of Adderall or Ritalin or Vyvanse.
Foods high on the bad ADHD diet include those high in sugar and simple carbohydrates like candy, white bread and pasta.
The Best ADHD Diet
The best ADHD diet will support your brain and make it easier for you to focus and get things done and:
- Includes lots of protein. Healthy protein. Lean meats – fish, chicken, turkey, and pork. Some beef is okay but watch that fat content. Eggs, legumes, cheese, yogurt, and nuts. Chia and flax seeds are a great source of protein and Omega-3s. Protein helps the brain make those neurotransmitters we need to focus and follow-through.
- Fills you up on healthy food so you get nutrients and avoid junk. Think fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Pre-washed and cut veggies make life easier. I think bags of lettuce are one of the best inventions of our time! Crackers, breads and pastas made from whole wheat flour. Make sure the label says whole wheat for the first ingredient. Brown rice and quinoa are good, too. Quinoa cooks fast and is great cold in salads. Plus, it’s loaded with protein. Two birds with one stone, etc.
- Has brain supporting Omega-3 Fatty Acids. This isn’t hard to do. Cold-water white fish such as tuna, salmon and also sardines. Also in flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, olive and canola oil. Chia seeds are amazing. You don’t need much to get your full fatty acid dose for the day.
- Doesn’t cause brain fog. Have you noticed how high-processed, sugary foods make your brain foggy? No? Then pay attention. Also, to foods with dyes, fake sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, trans-fats and chemicals in the ingredients. Most clients report that their brains don’t work as well for a couple of days when they’ve had more than a glass or two. Especially cheap beer and wine. I’m not saying don’t enjoy a nice drink – just don’t overdo it. Especially when you need your brain to work!
Eating a good ADHD diet isn’t hard to do once you know how and it doesn’t have to be restrictive. Balance is key. Want that slice of pumpkin pie for dessert? Make sure your meal is high in protein.
And it’s essential that you build awareness of how your brain reacts so you can plan ahead. If sugar causes your brain to fog and you have an afternoon presentation for work, skip the bite-sized Milky Way.
Bottom line: If you aren’t eating right, you can be sabotaging your success. Eating the best ADHD diet is important to managing ADHD.
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