Nutrition is an extricable part of the management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. A healthy diet, as significant research evidence shows, has a remarkable effect on an ADHD patient’s memory, mood, and behavior.
However, ADHD patients who are involved in sports may struggle with preparing healthy meals and setting up a regimen, partly due to a combination of distractedness and intense fixation on their sport.
If you or a loved one is an athlete living with ADHD, here are a few tips to help you eat healthy.
Pay attention to signs of hunger and be serious with mealtimes.
Athletes with ADHD may confuse signs of low blood sugar and hunger for their symptoms. It’s difficult to concentrate when you are hungry and running low on blood sugar. To prevent this, you need to plan your meals and stick to a regular meal schedule.
This is made easier by setting an alarm for when it’s time to refuel your body. Ideally, eating something nutritious every four hours helps. This is very helpful, since ADHD meds may interfere with hunger cues.
Athletes with ADHD need to find out their daily calorie needs according to their age, height, weight, and lifestyle. Athletes typically need between 500 to 1,000 calories more than the average person.
To get an accurate number, seek the advice of a medical doctor or nutritionist. Whatever the number is, divide that into six, even-sized meals. Thus, if you need 3,000 calories per day, you can consume 500-calorie meals every four hours.
Choose what you consume.
Healthy eating means consuming real food—and avoiding processed and prepackaged foods, which are likely loaded with empty calories.
Athletes with ADHD need to aim for a high-protein breakfast that sets them up for the day. For breakfast, a banana, eggs, and a glass of milk is an ideal combination. For mid-morning snack, combine a tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread and a piece of fruit. For lunch, have fish and brown rice. A mid-afternoon snack can consist of fruits and nuts. Dinner can be grilled chicken breast, broccoli, and brown rice. A light snack before bedtime can consist of cheese and crackers, toast, or oatmeal.
Carbohydrates when combined with food containing L-tryptophan (an essential amino acid that helps your body make proteins) can help anyone, not just athletes, sleep better as it lets tryptophan enter the brain easily.
ADHD Treatment in NY and CT
At Psy Visions, Dr. Mark Stracks treats patients of all ages who are living with impulse control disorders, such as ADHD. Dr. Stracks ensures his patients have the proper medication needed to control their symptoms, as well as receive behavioral therapy that enables them to adopt coping strategies, so they may live an excellent quality of life despite their condition.
To schedule your visit with Dr. Stracks, call our Manhattan clinic at (718) 887-2918 or our Southbury clinic at (203) 405-1745. You can also submit an appointment request using our online form. If preferred and whenever possible, Dr. Stracks offers telepsychiatry services to our patients.