Focus Foods: What ADHD Kids Need for Concentration!

3 Mins
Focus Foods: What ADHD Kids Need for Concentration!

Trying to get children to focus and pay attention is a challenge. Obtaining calm and focus in a child diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be an even bigger ordeal at times. 

No matter what you’re currently doing to help manage your child’s symptoms, integrating ADHD-friendly foods and good nutrition will be a critical component of any strategy. If you want to improve your child’s focus and set them up for lifelong healthy habits, start with “focus” nutrition.

In both kids and adults, diet and behavior have a correlation. The more processed foods, artificial flavors and colors, and added sugars you consume, the more sluggish your brain reacts. Feeding your brain and body healthy, natural and whole foods (especially Omega-3 rich options) gives your mind and body the energy to be alert and focus on the tasks at hand.

Omega-3 Options for Kids’ Focus

Omega-3 amino acids are critical building blocks to the developing brain. Eating omega-3-rich foods, such as walnuts, eggs, and fish, is a great way to incorporate more of these amino acids into the diet. 

  • Walnuts are a surprisingly good source of omega-3s and a highly versatile ingredient. You can eat them by themselves as a snack or incorporate them into recipes, including salads, muffins or other baked goods or casseroles.
  • Eggs are another way to get omega-3s. There are so many preparations of eggs and ways to get them into your child’s diet. Explore together some ways to make them, and let your child find their favorite. Eggs are an excellent vegetarian option.
  • Fish might be a trickier option to get your child to buy into, but if you find a recipe they enjoy, it adds another great source of Omega-3s. Kid-friendly ideas include tuna salad, fish tacos or homemade fish sticks.
  • Flax or Chia seed is another great vegan/vegetarian source. Grind up a tablespoon of seeds and add the fine powder into cereal, oatmeal, a smoothie, or baked good.

Protein Options for Boosting Focus

Protein is a double-threat to your child’s attention challenges. It keeps the belly full longer, which is important, since we know that when the belly is empty, the brain gets easily distracted. Protein also serves as a conduit, helping the neurotransmitters fire faster. This results in more clarity, alertness and focus. A protein-rich breakfast should be part of every child’s day. Protein-rich options your child may enjoy include:

  • Peanut butter
  • Beans and legumes
  • Greek yogurt
  • Oatmeal

Pro Tip: Do not include vitamin C rich juices in the breakfast menu for kids with ADHD, as the acids may interfere with the absorption of some ADHD medications. Additionally, the added sugar can work against your good efforts for improving focus with nutrition.

Vitamin and Mineral-Laden Options

Nuts and berries may not be the first thing you consider when you think of “brain foods,” but they can provide much-needed magnesium. Magnesium and other vitamins and minerals provide the body and brain with nutrients to optimize performance. Magnesium is critical for heart function, muscle support, and can even help kids feel more relaxed. Other excellent sources of magnesium include spinach, kale and other green veggies, as well as purple fruits like plums or blueberries, and some spices, such as cinnamon and black beans.

Get Them Involved

A great way to help your child eat healthier is to get them involved. If they understand why they are choosing certain foods and how they will benefit them, they may be more likely to get on board. And if your child is old enough, let them help you in preparing or cooking the food. Simple ways to involve them: allow them to add ingredients to a smoothie, yogurt or oatmeal, let them assemble their plate, or have them choose what toppings to incorporate in a dish.

Keep in mind, you can use a lot of these focal ingredients together for super-powered dishes.

  • You can hide some spinach in a peanut butter banana protein smoothie.
  • Add Greek yogurt for added thickness. (No added sugar needed due to the natural sweetness of the banana.)
  • Walnuts and cinnamon add great flavor and texture to homemade slow-cooked oatmeal. Top with fresh blueberries for an extra dose of delicious health. Yes, please!

The Focus on Focus

You want your child to succeed, to focus and to be seen for the amazing human you know they are, without the distraction of behavioral challenges. Nutrition is an integral part of helping them focus, and BIPRI wants to support you in helping them to shine. Check out our NEW Kids Attention & Focus Bundle, which provides ultimate support for your child’s brain health and focus/concentration ability.

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