Pop Tarts, apple juice, a bowl of Fruit Loops with milk, maybe a banana for breakfast. Jiff peanut butter (which contains high fructose corn syrup) and jelly on "wheat" bread, fruit roll-up, an apple and Cheetos or crackers for lunch. Top Raman and a coke as an after school snack and Mac n Cheese for dinner with canned green beans or take out. If this doesn't resemble your child's food intake then good for you, however at school there are plenty of sugary, processed foods with lots of artificial additives available for them to choose from.
Even more so than adults, children need whole fresh foods filled with nutrients, Phytochemicals and essential fats for proper brain and body development. The nutrients in whole foods help their bodies mature optimally, the Phytochemicals protect their growing cells from premature damage and the essential fats are crucial for learning, attention and memory. If we look to our grocery stores they have more processed foods, which lack these components and have ample amount of artificial ingredients, than whole fresh foods.
One explanation for the increasing number of children with ADD and hyperactivity are these additives... they are in everything... except whole unprocessed foods. If your child has ADD/ADHD I challenger you do an experiment. For three weeks take them off everything processed and replace it with only fresh veggies, fruits, meats, un-milled or sprouted grains, legumes, seafood and healthy fats like nuts and seeds, avocado and olives... see how they do. If this alone doesn't solve most of the problem add extra omega 3's to their diet like wild salmon, ground flax seeds or oil, sardines (mix it up just like tuna) or consider a high quality supplement from Nordic Naturals or Designs for Health.
"But, my child won't eat that...." Only because they are not used to it! Start slowly introducing new foods or incorporating them into the routine and eliminating the processed foods. Do this over a few months and they will adapt, the younger this happens the easier and better.
Remember, children are even more sensitive to food additives, sugars and refined grains and fats than adults and they need a wide range of nutrients for all cells of the body, including the brain, to function properly and optimally. Don't trust the health of your child to packaging and advertising; get advice from a qualified source. Together we can work to get the two million children that are on drugs for ADD/ADHD, drug free!
Cheri Soraparu is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer.