7 Recipes for Kids with Attention Disorders

by Ariane Resnick, CNC

It's established that foods with potentially harmful additives such as artificial colors and flavors may contribute negatively to the symptoms of attention disorders. As important as it is to minimize your child's intake of those foods, it's equally smart to ensure they eat enough of the foods that contain nutrients shown to reduce symptoms of attention disorders.

What Foods Can Help with Attention Disorder Symptoms?

Multiple nutrients can help manage attention disorders, including:

Protein: While the brain needs fats to grow and function properly in other ways, it’s protein your brain’s neurons use to communicate. Additionally, high-protein diets reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by lowering amyloid beta, a peptide that can form plaques in the brain.
Zinc: This nutrient is necessary for brain growth and helps to synthesize protein in the brain as it develops.
Magnesium: Children with attention disorders who received this calming nutrient showed reductions in hyperactivity in one study.
Iron: Children who are iron-deficient do less well in school, while those whose diets contain healthy supplies of this nutrient show better brain integrity as they grow into teenagers.
Omega-3s: Also useful for calming anxiety, omega-3s have had positive results in many studies for mitigating the symptoms of attention disorders in children.
Vitamin C: This vitamin acts as an antioxidant to the brain and helps reduce oxidative stress; proper intake of vitamin C reduces the risk of brain disorders and diseases.
Vitamin B complex: Involved in brain functions ranging from energy production to methylation — a step in the detoxification of your cells — an adequate supply of B vitamins is vital to both health and overall neurological wellness.

If you've been looking for recipes to improve attention disorders in kids, you've come to the right place! Proper nutrition is one of Brillia’s five pillars in your child's success. We've collected recipes containing the above nutrients, which can benefit attention disorders to help your child function optimally.

1. Clams & Mussels

One of the top dietary sources of iron, eating clams and mussels doesn't need to be complicated. They're generally sold in the shell, and this can make eating them a fun task for your child. But if this feels too complex you can purchase them already shelled. Try serving them tucked into spaghetti with red sauce, as in this recipe.

2. Eggs

An excellent source of some B vitamins, eggs are a portable snack in their hard-boiled form. Equally portable are these cheesy egg puffs, which are baked in muffin tins. Use muffins tins that are smaller or larger than standard ones for a mini- or extra-big snack.

3. Fish

It seems impossible to write about attention disorders and anxiety without mentioning fatty fish. That's because it's one of the best sources of omega 3s. Sneak some tuna into a sandwich with this recipe that’s easy to transport to school and has a comforting feel.

4. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains plenty of magnesium for relaxation, as well as other feel-good brain chemicals such as PEA, theobromine, and anandamides. Getting children to eat chocolate is usually an easy task. If they don't love the taste of dark chocolate alone, however, add some peppermint flavor. This recipe for chocolate mint balls contains no refined sugar, which is best to avoid when dealing with attention disorders.

5. Lamb

High in protein and also containing beneficial omegas, lamb might not be the first protein you think of feeding your child — but it is one of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense. If lamb chop lollies are an easy sell, go that route. But if they don't care for the taste, you can hide lamb in meatballs, such as this recipe. If the taste is still too strong, swap out part of the ground lamb for a different, more mildly flavored ground meat.

6. Bell Peppers

If you expected to see citrus fruit as the suggestion for vitamin C, you're not alone; it's a little-known fact that peppers are an even better source of the important antioxidant. Bell peppers can be sliced and eaten raw, which some children do enjoy. If that's not the case with yours, sauté them for festive fajitas as suggested here. Swap out green peppers for red to get more vitamin C into the dish.

7. Lentils

A legume that's particularly high in protein, lentils are notable for their zinc content. The different types each cook up differently, with pink being the softest/mushiest and black the firmest, so which one your child will prefer depends on their preferences in food textures. One of the best ways to introduce your child to lentils is in a dish they're already familiar with, such as a bolognese. Try a lentil bolognese for a comforting way to incorporate this legume.

All of these recipes create an opportunity for your child to practice mindfulness, another Brillia pillar, as they track the positive impact these foods have on their ability to think well and feel relaxed.

Ariane Resnick is a special diet chef, certified nutritionist and bestselling author. She has been featured in media such as Forbes, Huffington Post and the CBS talk show “The Doctors,” and her private clientele includes celebrities such as P!nk. The first of Ariane’s two published books, The Bone Broth Miracle, has climbed to Amazon’s #1 ranking for cookbooks on multiple occasions. Another two books are scheduled for release in 2019.

References:

1. https://discoverbrillia.com/pages/five-pillars-nutrition
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adhd/expert-answers/adhd/faq-20058203
3. https://www.ecu.edu.au/news/latest-news/2018/02/lower-alzheimers-risk-one-of-the-pros-of-a-high-protein-diet
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7082716
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368236
6. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/iron-builds-a-better-brain-41504
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5603098/
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2649700/
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/
10. https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/spaghetti-mussels-clams-and-shrimp
11. https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cheesy-egg-puffs/
12. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/79601/easy-weeknight-tuna-pot-pie/?internalSource=staff%20pick&referringId=16065&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub&clickId=cardslot%201
13. https://livingwellmom.com/chocolate-mint-balls/
14. https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/lamb-meatballs-185382
15. https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/easy-chicken-fajitas
16. https://omdfortheplanet.com/blog/fall-in-love-with-winter-squash-5-recipes-to-get-you-hooked/
17. https://discoverbrillia.com/pages/five-pillars-mindfulness-techniques-for-children