Guest Post | Nutrition and ADHD

By July 13, 2014 learn, nourish 2 Comments

Last month marked the launch of my friend Dr. Rachel Gow’s website focused on raising awareness and disseminating information and knowledge about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 11% of children in the U.S. between the ages of 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point, compared with 7.8% a decade ago. In addition, two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis are being medicated, representing a 28% increase between 2007-2011 alone. 

So when Rachel asked me to not only contribute to the blog, providing tips and recipes for parents with children with ADHD, but also give a talk at the launch of the site, I was more than happy to do so. The launch was a lovely event held on June 19 at the historical Laird-Dunlop House in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. The event was attended by everyone from PhD-level scientists to local community members. 


Nutrition is important to think about for all of us, as what we eat gives us energy, feeds our cells, nourishes our brain and participates in so many vital life functions. In thinking about childhood, a time of rapid growth, maturation and brain development, this gives nutrition even greater importance. For parents of children with ADHD, nutrition can be critical in helping to manage symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, lack of concentration, impulsivity and oppositional behavior.

For my first post, I gave some kid-friendly recipes for an SB&J Smoothie and Quinoa Taco Wraps. The recipes are below, but you can check out the full post and get some other really great information on ADHD over at Dr. Rachel V. Gow.


SB&J Smoothie
Serves 1
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  1. 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  2. 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  3. 3 Tbsp hemp seeds
  4. 1/4 avocado
  5. 1 Tbsp sunflower seed butter
  6. 1 cup frozen strawberries
  7. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  9. Pinch of salt
  1. Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Depending on consistency desired, you can either add ice to thicken or a bit of water (or more almond milk) to thin out.
an unprocessed life

Quinoa Taco Wraps
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For the Quinoa Salad
  1. 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 2 Tbsp olive oil
  4. 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  5. Salt and pepper, to taste
Add desired amounts of
  1. Dried cranberries
  2. Almond slivers
  3. Green onion (scallion), chopped
  4. Celery, finely chopped
  5. Fresh parsley, chopped
To Assemble the Wraps
  1. Cabbage, Collard Greens, Chard, Lettuce
  2. Baked sweet potato
  3. Black beans
  4. Avocado
  5. Red bell pepper
  6. Salsa
  7. Cilantro
For the Quinoa Salad
  1. Add quinoa to a pot with water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool for at least 5-10 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients. Serve warm or cold.
  3. Note: Some people soak quinoa to reduce the chance of digestive issues. You can put quinoa in a bowl with 1 cup of water and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, cover and soak 12-24 hours. Prior to cooking, strain quinoa and rinse well until the water runs clear. You will need to reduce water to 1 or 1½ cups as the quinoa will require less cooking liquid after soaking. Another trick to help reduce digestive issues (and add nutrients) is to place a thumb-sized piece of kombu (seaweed) into the pot while quinoa cooks. It is then removed prior to serving or including into a recipe.
  4. Also, the listed add-ins can be switched up or omitted for variety or if your child is sensitive or does not like certain items. For example, you could switch up the pumpkin seeds or other nuts for the almonds, or dried cherries or dates in place of the cranberries.
To Assemble Wraps
  1. Place some quinoa salad into a leaf of the green of your choice, along with desired extras such as those suggested (beans, avocado, bell pepper, etc.). Fold or wrap up to eat like a taco or burrito. Enjoy!
an unprocessed life


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