The previous post looked at how age affects a child’s ability to concentrate and the wide range of maturity levels we can see over a 1 year time frame.  If you missed the previous post see it here.


Nutrition

Parents: I am not letting you off the hook here!  A large part of miss-diagnosis is nutrition.  I challenge you to REALLY look at what you are giving your children for meals and snacks.  Sugar, preservatives, and food colourings are linked to many behavioral issues.  The snacks that are advertised to us parents as “healthy and nutritious” often are not! 
I have been caught in this too, marketers are constantly changing wording just to trick us busy moms.  If it comes in a package, chances are it has some kind of preservative and often excess sugar.  It isworth the extra few minutes at the market to read carefully all labels when buying snacks for our loved ones.
Quite a few years ago I went on a class trip with my son, the teacher assigned groups of kids to each parent.  One of the little girls in my group came up to me and said “I have ADHD, but don’t worry I took my meds today”.  Hmmmm… 
A couple hours later we sat down to lunch and guess what she had?  A package of Oreo cakesters, a Pepsi Max and a Rice Krispy bar, nothing else. 
I had to wonder; did she actually have ADHD or was it just sugar overload?  Of course me being me, I gave her my salad so that she did not have to eat Oreos for lunch! J  You may be thinking “I would never let my child out of the house with that lunch!” but do you?  I mean; REALLY, do you? 
We buy these “snacks” as a treat, maybe 1 in an otherwise healthy lunch, but how many of us physically make or even pack our children’s lunches.  If they are doing it themselves making a sandwich or salad is not top priority!  It’s best all-around not to buy these items so that the temptation is removed.
  
So what should you do?  Look into the ingredients of what you eat on a daily basis and what you allow your child to take to school.  You will be amazed at the ingredients disguised as “healthy and nutritious”.   Take 2 weeks and completely remove all unnatural ingredients and added sugars; then observe the behavior difference. 
If your child must have a treat every day with lunch why not set aside 1 hour every Sunday and make cookies or muffins for the week worth of lunches.  I like to bake on the weekend and place enough for the week in the freezer.  Each night as I prepare the kids lunches for the next day I take out one treat so that it is thawed by morning.   
Here is a great muffin recipes that is delicious, low in fats and sugars and super easy to make.  With 3 kids I make 2 dozen to freeze for the week, plus an extra dozen to eat over the weekend!  
We call it the:

 “Anything Muffin”

Ingredients:

1 cup oats (bran, or any other healthy grain or cereal)
1 cup whole wheat flour ( I like the Presidents Choice Organic WW flour, nice and soft for baking)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup milk (orange juice, mashed bananas, or any other liquid of choice)
1/2 cup pure dark chocolate chips (optional)

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  
Combine oats with milk (liquid) and let stand ( my kids fav is 2 mashed bananas and enough milk to make about 1 cup) 
In a separate bowl combine all other dry ingredients.  Add melted butter and egg to milk mixture stirring until combined.  Combine dry with wet and mix until just moistened.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Divide evenly into 12 muffin tins.  
Bake for 15-22 minutes. 
Variations are endless!  Keep liquid to solid ratio intact and have fun with different flavor combos.
A few of our favorites are:
orange-cranberry-oat
orange-date-bran
banana-chocolate chip-Kashi 7 grain nugget cereal (we use the Kashi cereals ALOT!)
banana-nut
apple-butterscotch chip-granola (apple sauce is the liquid)
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