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Breakfast is the first meal of the day and my first topic in my How to Feed Your Kids with ADHD series. We all have heard how breakfast in the most important meal of the day over and over! For kids with ADHD, breakfast proves to be medicine in getting their day started on the right foot. It’s hard work trying to concentrate all day for an ADHD kid so fueling them with lean protein, fiber, and antioxidant filled fruit is going to set them on a path to success.
Now, getting them to do eat that healthy breakfast is a whole other ballgame! I have great respect for all you parents of picky eaters, because I have one myself! There have been some days that I was just glad my kid ate something. What I did find out about my own child is that he had a whole other issue going on. Many times kids with ADHD can be picky eaters due to sensory issues. It is actually very common, and you have to get really creative to get these kids to try and eat new foods or textures. If you do have a child who has a hard time trying new foods, get help from a registered dietitian and a speech pathologist with experience in sensory issues.
The first step in a feeding your ADHD child breakfast is building a arsenal of ideas that your ADHD child will eat. Sit down with your child and have them tell you their favorite breakfast foods and break it down into types of bread, cereal, fruit, dairy, beverages, and proteins. Try to substitute less healthy favorites for more nutritious ones. For instance, substitute whole wheat bread for white bread. Look for a higher fiber (3-5 grams) and lower sugar cereals (<10 grams). Do a taste test with the whole family to get everyone on board with healthy changes. We do blind fold challenges in my family to make it fun. Please don’t pressure your child to like something but use positive reinforcement. If they don’t like it the first time, bring it back later to try it again. It may take several times for a child to accept a new food. It’s a victory just for them to pick it up and check it out.
The second step is finding good ideas and having your child help make it. Introduce new items over a weekend where they can help you cook. Getting them involved in the process can help with food acceptance because they are involved in it. I am a huge advocate of having your kids in the kitchen. My kids have helped me since they could walk. It gets messy, but it is so much fun!
The third step is stop buying unhealthy competing foods. If your child loves Pop Tarts, they are less likely to want any of the new choices. Please don’t set them up for failure by keeping the high sugar cereal or Pop Tarts on hand.
The fourth step is planning and execution. You have to plan it out! I realize it doesn’t always go as planned but having a plan in place helps set your child up for success in their school day. Having some back up choices is always a good idea. I also like to give my child a couple of choices the night before so he knows what to expect. He isn’t surprised or disappointed when he gets it the next day.
Homemade Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches by Hungry and Healthy
Banana Split Smoothie Bowls by Supermarket Nutrition
Healthy Egg Muffins by A Pinch of Grace
Protein Rich Cherry French Toast by Amy Gorin, RDN
Yogurt Parfait by Food, Pleasure, and Health
Strawberry Peanut Overnight Oats by Meal Makeover Moms
Peanut Butter and Banana Sushi by Nutrition Starring You
Flying Pancakes by Halsa Nutrition
Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Bites by Triad to Wellness
Healthy Breakfast Sausage Casserole by Hungry Hobby
Strawberry Chocolate Overnight Oats by Nutrition by Nazima
PB & J Oatmeal Muffins by Supermarket Nutrition