ADHD and nutrition is a hot topic. Eating the right food is key in helping to minimize the negative effects of ADHD. Yet getting the right nutrients is problematic for people with ADHD. Very often they are slim or even skinny (but not necessarily healthy) or they are overweight.
One of the reasons for being slim or skinny is often connected to ADHD medication. Ritalin, Adderall and other stimulant medication suppress the appetite. While the medication is in effect you don’t feel hungry, but are famished once the medication has worn off. The overall effect is that you are eating less calories than you would otherwise and so lose weight, or find it hard to gain weight. Another reason for being skinny is that ensuring you always have food around takes a lot of brain work and effort. You have to plan meals ahead of time, go grocery shopping and finally prepare the food. All of these steps require planning and organization and when there are dozens of other things going on, food takes a back seat. This can result in you not getting enough nutrients.
If you have ADHD and are overweight it could be because it’s time consuming to have meals at home so eating in restaurants is the easier option. In order to make their food tasty, restaurant kitchens use much more fat, salt and sugar than you would at home. So it’s easy to understand why you could be heavier than you would like. People with ADHD are also likely to eat impulsively and not because they are hungry.
Living with ADHD is stressful and one way to combat stress is to comfort eat. People rarely comfort eat with celery sticks or baby carrots!
ADHD and nutrition doesn’t have to be a battle ground here are some things you can do.
1) Do not feel guilty or bad about yourself whichever group you fall into.
2) Start to make small and easy changes to your diet. For example, start with one piece of fruit a day. Then, when that is second nature make another small change
3) Do 30 minutes of exercise every day. Besides being great for your ADHD brain, when you exercise, your body craves healthy food, making it much easier for you to make healthier food choices.
4) If you go to a restaurant, make a healthy choice, it’s much easier to order a large mix salad than having to shop, then chop it yourself.
5) If you are taking ADHD medication having breakfast and then taking your tablet has been found to be helpful in fending off weight loss.