Healthy ADHD snack ideas can help make an afternoon pick me up beneficial to your child’s afterschool routine. Too often, though, our kids get home from school and all they want to do is lay around the house and eat junk food. Unfortunately, this could be the worst thing they could do for their minds and bodies after school.
Many kids find themselves exhausted at the end of a school day. They don’t want to do their homework. They don’t want to do their chores.
The farthest thing from their minds includes trying to exercise and eat healthy. They need fuel for their mind and bodies, though, and a boost of good energy to help their focus and energy levels. To give them what they need, you need to gain some tips on providing healthy ADHD snack ideas.
To best help your kids with making the most of their afternoons, you need to give them the right fuel to succeed. In this post, we cover some vital ADHD snack ideas so that you can give your kids positive options to refuel after a long day at school.
Tip #1—Stay Away from Junk Food
For ADHD snack ideas to work you must start first and foremost with avoiding junk food at all costs. Do yourself a favor now, go to your pantry and toss out all artificially sweetened and preserved food. Get rid of the greasy potato chips. Dump out the chocolate and sugar filled pastries and flush away the string cheese.
Junk food steals away focus and positive energy from your kids. Instead of feeling energized after eating highly processed and sugary foods, your kids will more likely feel lethargic and the sugar crash will make them irritable and uninterested in following directions or doing chores or homework.
We all like junk foods. They provide a quick easy solution that your kids won’t argue about. In fact, junk foods appear on the surface to provide the perfect solution.
What seems easiest at first, though, leads to disruption and disorder in the end. To best prepare your kids to make the most of their afternoons, do everything you can to stay away from junk food. If you need some tips on the foods to avoid check out this post on the worst foods for ADHD.
Tip #2—Try Some Complex Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates provide an energy source for our bodies. Carbohydrates cover a wide range of food types such as bread, rice, vegetables, fruits, and baked goods. Within the category of carbohydrates, though, exist both simple and complex carbohydrates.
Typically, simple carbohydrates include foods that appear simpler in nature. Simple carbs involve carbs that have been broken down into small chunks. This makes the energy provided by the carbs easier for your body to absorb which results in energy spikes or increased blood pressure.
For this reason, you want to limit the amount of simple carbohydrates that you consume on a regular basis. Common simple carbohydrates include white rice, soda, sweeteners, candy, and white rice.
Instead of simple carbohydrates, you should give your kids complex carbohydrates. As the name suggests, these carbohydrates are more complex and harder for your body to breakdown. As a result, the energy is released over a longer period of time providing a more constant flow of energy as opposed to short energy spikes. Also, complex carbohydrates contain other nutrients that your body needs.
For the best ADHD snack ideas, you’ll want to incorporate complex carbohydrates as much as possible. Complex carbs include options such as fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots. Other snack options could include peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat bread or whole grain crackers, or dried fruits and nuts.
Many processed foods contain simple carbohydrates. To avoid them, stay away as much as you can from processed or packaged food. Instead go for natural alternatives with higher nutritional content.
Tip #3—Incorporate Healthy Fats into Your ADHD Snack Ideas
Once upon a time not so long ago, we believed that all fats posed a problem. We tried to limit them all. Now, though, science has realized that our bodies actually need some fats to stay healthy. To provide your kids the best ADHD snack ideas, try to replace bad fats with good fat options.
Bad fats typically appear in solid form such as margarine or shortening. Oftentimes these fats appear in processed greasy or fried foods. You might see them on food labels listed as “partially hydrogenated oil.”
To avoid the bad fats, try switching them out for good fats. Good fats typically appear in liquid form such as vegetable or olive oil. Some of these fats act as essential fats, things our body must have to function normally.
Healthy fats include omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Sources of good fats include avocado, olives, corn, soybeans, salmon, and flax seeds. More than likely, most all of these things are foods your kids would not naturally decide to eat. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use them as snacks. It just means that you need to get creative.
You could try giving your kids a healthy nut trail mix or possibly chips with guacamole. Explore your options and try using ingredients you haven’t before. For more snack options with good fats, check out the ideas at this link.
Tip #4—Eat Foods That Provide a Good Source of Omega-3s
Speaking of good fats, you also want to try to include foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids into your ADHD snack ideas. There exists many well-documented benefits of Omega-3s for ADHD treatment. Omega-3s provide essential fats that our body needs. Additionally, for individuals with ADHD, eating more Omega-3s might help reduce the occurrence of ADHD symptoms and increase focus and attention.
Foods with Omega-3s include walnuts, fish, ground flaxseeds, and tuna. Again, while these things might not fall high on your child’s list of favorite foods, you can still get creative about using them in your ADHD snack ideas. For some great snack ideas with Omega-3s, check out the options at this link or in this article.
If you need some more information to get on board with Omega-3s, really do your research to identify their benefits. Omega-3s should play a role in any well-rounded healthy diet. Get to know more about the facts behind Omega-3s and their benefits. Start trying to use them more in your child’s diet and notice a difference today.
Tip #5—Consider Energy Bars with No Preservatives
You don’t need us to tell you that kids naturally gravitate towards candy and snack bars. As a parent even, you probably like snack bars yourself for their simplicity and ease. Snack bars can make a one-stop shop for snacks with little preparation and clean up.
For healthier ADHD snack ideas, we think you can include snack bars. We just recommend that you consider going with energy bars with little to no preservatives. Many times, the preservatives in snack bars act the part of the real enemy. To get around the negative health consequences of many of these preservatives, steer clear altogether and go natural.
We recognize that many energy bars with no preservatives might cost more than the other options. Many times, though, the higher price is worth the added benefits to your child’s health. For some good options to try out, check out the list of healthy granola bars at this link or the list of good energy bars in this article. Alternatively, you could even try making your own energy bars. Some good recipe ideas can be found here.
We want you to know that energy bars can still be a good option. Just be careful in picking the good ones from the bad ones. Do a little more research into your options, and you might be surprised at what you might find.
Tip #6—Try Smoothies for Healthy ADHD Snack Ideas
For ADHD snack ideas that both you and your child will love, try smoothies. Smoothies offer an excellent opportunity to “sneak” in good foods that your kids just refuse to eat. For instance, your ADHD child might never eat raw spinach or kale by itself. Blend kale up in a smoothie with peanut butter, though, and they’ll enjoy it and not even know kale is in it.
Smoothies can make one of your best ADHD snack ideas. They take little preparation. Oftentimes, you just need the raw ingredients: fruits, vegetables, yogurt, milk or orange juice, peanut butter, or something similar, and ice. The hardest part about smoothies might be the clean up afterwards.
To make smoothies simple and easy, you can plan ahead and make a smoothie on Sunday for each day of the week. You can freeze all the smoothies and then defrost them on each day as you need them. Your child will love the cool, tasty treat and thank you for something creative and not just raw vegetables.
If you need some smoothie recipes to get you started, you should check out the recipe found here, the recipes at this link, or some of the ones found here. Options for smoothies are as limitless as your imagination. Make snack time more fun by trying new combinations each day of the week.
Think Outside the Box for Helpful ADHD Snack Ideas
ADHD snack ideas can be hard to tackle sometimes. As the parent, you have to walk the fine line of insisting on something healthy while wanting to make your kids happy. After all, you should know that a healthy diet helps provide a better focus. If your kids decided what to eat, though, it would almost certainly be chocolate or something fried. Neither of which provides much benefit for focus.
If you really got to the bottom of what your kids want, though, you would most likely find that they don’t necessary just want the bad stuff. What they don’t want is something that tastes bad or bland. Eating healthy doesn’t mean food has to taste bad, though.
To get your kids on board with healthier ADHD snack ideas think creatively. Use some of the tips outlined here to build in variety into your kids’ afterschool routine. Give them something more than raw vegetables.
At least meet your kids halfway with something that tastes better than celery. Your kids will thank you, and you’ll make yourself the hero and not the villain. After all, you want and should be your child’s hero.
To help you stay creative, try checking out this post on the 10 top food categories and supplements that help ADHD. Additionally, come check out more posts on our resources page for more ideas to better address ADHD day in and day out.