The Best Diet for Children with ADHD

Do you worry about the best diet for your child with ADHD? Discover the nutritional benefits and find foods to help improve their focus, energy and health. You have the power to support and sustain their best possible health.

Quick facts: Best Diet For Child With Adhd

  • ✅ Eating healthy diets that are high in fresh whole foods and low in processed foods may help decrease symptoms of ADHD. (Source: Harvard Health Publishing)
  • ✅ Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity associated with ADHD. (Source: Attention Deficit Disorder Association)
  • ✅ A balanced diet is important for all children, but for those with ADHD, it is even more important as certain foods can affect concentration and behavior. (Source: ADDitude Magazine)
  • ✅ Research shows that reducing sugar, artificial colors, and preservatives from the diet could lead to a reduction in ADHD symptoms in children. (Source: Medical News Today)
  • ✅ Eating iron-rich foods like eggs, salmon, and lean meats can help improve concentration and reduce ADHD symptoms. (Source: WebMD)


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a very common issue affecting many children today. It is associated with difficulty paying attention and controlling behavior. Studies have shown that certain dietary modifications can have a positive impact on improving the symptoms of ADHD. Therefore, it is essential to understand which diet plan is most effective for children with ADHD.

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects children and adults. It is characterized by difficulty paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).

ADHD can cause many difficulties in day to day life, ranging from problems with concentration to disorganization. As a result, individuals may struggle in school or work settings, have trouble following through on tasks, or have difficulties with relationships or self-esteem.

While there is no single cure-all for ADHD, making dietary changes can help reduce symptoms of inattentiveness and hyperactivity. For example:

  • Avoiding foods containing artificial colors and flavors has been known to help calm some of the negative effects of the disorder.
  • Eating healthy whole foods can also provide beneficial vitamins and minerals that can improve energy levels and focus – both important factors for someone with ADHD.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder that affects children, adolescents and adults. Symptoms of ADHD generally involve difficulty paying attention, trouble controlling behavior and issues with impulsivity. These symptoms can vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe.

Common signs of ADHD in children include being easily distracted, difficulty following instructions, being forgetful, difficulty organizing tasks and activities, constantly fidgeting or squirming, excessive talking and lack of patience. Other symptoms may include mood swings or sudden outbursts of anger and irritability. Adults with ADHD may struggle with time management skills or even have difficulties developing meaningful relationships.

If your child is exhibiting these symptoms it is important to consult a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis as other conditions may present similar signs and symptoms. A multidisciplinary approach involving parents and teachers may also be beneficial in creating strategies that can help manage the symptoms of ADHD while still emotional supporting the child as they learn new skills to cope with the disorder.

Diet and ADHD

For children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), diet plays an important role in managing their symptoms. Studies have shown that certain dietary changes can improve focus, reduce impulsivity and increase attentiveness.

In this article, we will discuss the best diet for children with ADHD and provide tips on how to create healthy meals and snacks.

The importance of a healthy diet

Having a healthy diet is important for people of all ages, but it is especially important for children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Eating a nutritious diet filled with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains can provide children with the vitamins and minerals they need to stay energized and focused. Eating at regular intervals throughout the day can help keep blood sugar levels steady–unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to fatigue, difficulty concentrating and other symptoms associated with ADHD. Limiting processed foods and sweets can also help reduce symptoms.

In addition to sticking to healthy foods, parents should encourage their children with ADHD to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Staying hydrated helps regulate body temperature and transports nutrients throughout the body; both of which are essential for focus, concentration and physical energy. Water should be the primary go-to beverage, but low-sugar juice or sport drinks can be beneficial as well.

Foods to avoid

When it comes to diet and ADHD, certain foods should be avoided. These foods can have an adverse effect on behavior and focus in people with ADHD.

  • Foods containing high levels of artificial coloring, preservatives and other additives are one type of food to avoid for children with ADHD.
  • It is also important to avoid sugary snacks and drinks as these can cause a spike in energy followed by a dramatic crash that can have an effect on mood, focus and behavior.
  • Processed foods should also be avoided, as these contain a lot of sodium which can lead to dehydration. This dehydration can further contribute to ADHD symptoms such as difficulty focusing and lack of energy.
  • Lastly, it is important to minimize the intake of processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, salami and lunch meats as these contain sulfites which are linked to poor concentration in those with ADHD.

Foods to include

A diet that is rich in supportive foods is important for children with ADHD. These foods will help nourish the brain and body and provide essential nutrients to help reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

Foods to include in a child’s diet for ADHD include:

  • Fruits and vegetables are essential because they provide vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy neuron structure and good cognitive function.
  • Complex carbohydrates from whole grain breads, cereals, brown rice and quinoa can help stabilize blood sugar levels which may improve focus and concentration.
  • Protein sources like chicken, turkey, fish or legumes can provide building blocks for neurotransmitters responsible for controlling behavior.
  • Healthy fats such as avocados or olive oil can also help reduce symptoms of ADHD by providing essential fatty acids to support brain development.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have a positive effect on impulsivity among children with ADHD.

Nutritional Supplements

Nutrition plays an important role in the way our bodies function. For children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dietary changes and nutritional supplementation can help reduce symptoms associated with the disorder.

This article will focus on the potential benefits of nutritional supplements for children with ADHD.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of a healthy diet for children with ADHD. Research has found that Omega-3 fatty acids may have a positive effect on children’s behavior and cognitive functions, as well as their executive functioning skills.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, nuts, and certain oils such as olive, flaxseed, and canola oil. Additionally, supplement forms of Omega-3 fatty acids are available in liquid or capsule form. It is important to ensure that the supplement form includes both EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Together these two forms make up the two most beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids for children with ADHD.

Studies have shown that taking a daily dose of 500mg of EPA+DHA may improve symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity in children with ADHD by helping to reduce inflammation and improve neuronal functioning.


Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays an important role in neurological functions, helping with both mood and cognition. It’s also important for maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, as well as cardiovascular health. Magnesium deficiencies are common in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Including magnesium into your child’s diet is a great way to help boost their magnesium levels, but it can also be difficult to get enough magnesium from food alone. Supplements are a great way to add additional magnesium into your child’s diet. Magnesium supplements come in many forms including capsules, tablets, powders, liquids and even sprays that can be added to food or drink.

Doses range from

  • 200 to 400 milligrams per day for children between the ages of 8–13
  • 400 to 800 milligrams per day for adolescents between the ages of 14–18 years old.

Taking higher doses of magnesium may lead to digestive upset or diarrhea so it’s best to start off slowly and increase dosage over time.


Zinc is an essential mineral that is often overlooked in the diet of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Zinc plays a vital role in the neurotransmission of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters heavily associated with behavior and attention span. A deficiency in zinc can limit these neurotransmitters’ ability to be properly released, resulting in symptoms associated with attention issues.

Therefore, incorporating zinc into your child’s supplement regimen is essential for promoting smooth neurological functioning and reducing ADHD symptoms. Zinc supplements can be found in pill form or in foods such as

  • beef
  • chickpeas
  • pumpkin seeds
  • spinach
  • cashews

. With proper supplementation and diet adjustments your child can benefit from the improved neuronal functioning that zinc provides.

Meal Planning

Creating a meal plan for children with ADHD can be challenging, as it needs to be tailored to their specific dietary needs. It is important to include a variety of nutritious and balanced meals to provide them with the energy and nutrition they need for optimal functioning. A meal plan should also be created to maintain a consistent eating schedule and avoid any negative effects related to ADHD.

Let’s explore some of the best diet options for children with ADHD:


Breakfast is an important meal for children with ADHD as it helps to improve focus during school hours. Ideally, breakfasts should include whole-grain carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats and fruits or vegetables. This combination of food groups will provide sustained energy and improved concentration throughout the morning.

Examples of breakfasts that can be included in a balanced meal plan are:

  • Oatmeal with fruit or nuts
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes
  • Smoothie bowls made with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit
  • Peanut butter on toast

When planning a breakfast for children with ADHD, it is important to include nutritious food options that are appealing to them in order to encourage them to eat breakfast and receive the necessary nutrients for optimal brain function.


When planning lunch for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it’s important to focus on foods that are packed with protein and healthy fats. Protein helps keep energy levels balanced throughout the day and healthy fats provide a steady supply of energy. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables should also be included in the meal plan. Complex carbohydrates provide long-term energy and help stabilize blood sugar levels.

When preparing meals for children with ADHD, it’s also important to consider any food allergies or sensitivities the child may have. Many children with ADHD may have trouble focusing or have an increase in hyperactive behaviour if they consume certain types of food or food additives like artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives or sweeteners. Make sure to always check labels before feeding your child and consult a doctor if there are any concerns about specific dietary needs or sensitivities. Additionally, make meal time enjoyable by involving your child in the preparation of meals when possible; this will help build a positive relationship between food and the child while teaching him/her good eating habits.


When it comes to meal planning for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), providing meals that are both nutritious and tasty is of utmost importance. Dinner is a great opportunity to provide beneficial carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, legumes, and quinoa. Adding protein sources like lean meats, chicken, fish or tofu will help provide energy and stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the night.

Furthermore, adding colorful vegetables such as broccoli, sweet potatoes or corn will help fill out any meal. To add flavor without added sugars or artificial preservatives, try using spices and herbs like garlic powder, basil or oregano – all of which have numerous health benefits of their own.

Finally, serving freshly made guacamole with fresh vegetables can add a bit of fun to any meal – perfect for picky palates!


When it comes to choosing the best diet for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), parents should focus on providing a balanced, nutrient-rich diet as well as plenty of water and physical activity. Replacing sugary drinks with water and limiting processed foods, fast food, and unhealthy snacks are all key components in providing the best nutrition for kids with ADHD.

Making sure that meals include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats is also important.

It is important to note that the best diet alone is not enough to fully manage ADHD symptoms, however it can help reduce behavioral issues and improve focus and concentration. Consistently monitoring a child’s diet can help ensure they get the nutrients needed to perform at their best in daily life.

FAQs about: Best Diet For Child With Adhd

Q: What is the best diet for a child with ADHD?

A: Eating a healthy diet with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, fruits and vegetables can be beneficial for children with ADHD. Avoiding processed foods and those with a high sugar content can also help reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Q: Are there any specific foods to avoid for a child with ADHD?

A: Some foods to avoid for a child with ADHD include processed foods, high sugar foods, foods with artificial colors and flavors, and foods with high amounts of preservatives.

Q: What are some examples of healthy, nutritious foods for a child with ADHD?

A: Some examples of healthy, nutritious foods for a child with ADHD include salmon, walnuts, blueberries, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, quinoa, leafy greens, beans, and nuts.

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