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Boost Your Child's Brainpower: The Top 5 Foods for Improved Concentration in School

Updated: Sep 8, 2023



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As a parent, you want your child to succeed in school. Whether they're struggling to keep up or simply want to improve their performance, there are many things you can do to help. One of the most important factors that can affect your child's ability to focus in school is their diet. In this article, we will explore the link between diet and concentration, and provide you with the top 5 foods that can help your child stay focused and alert in the classroom.


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The Importance of Diet for Improved Concentration in School


Studies have shown that the food we eat can have a profound impact on our ability to concentrate. In fact, a poor diet has been linked to ADHD, a condition that affects millions of children worldwide. ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can make it difficult for children to focus, stay organized, and control their impulses.


While there are many factors that can contribute to ADHD, including genetics and environmental factors, diet is one of the most important. Research has shown that children with ADHD are more likely to have nutrient deficiencies and consume higher levels of sugar and processed foods than their peers without ADHD.


What is ADHD?


ADHD is a condition that affects the brain and behavior. It is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with daily functioning. Symptoms of ADHD can include difficulty paying attention, forgetfulness, poor organization, distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.


While there is no cure for ADHD, there are many treatments available that can help manage the symptoms. These treatments can include lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, therapies, and medication.


The Link Between Diet and ADHD


Research has shown that there is a strong link between diet and ADHD. Children with ADHD are more likely to have nutrient deficiencies and consume higher levels of sugar and processed foods than their peers without ADHD.


One study found that children with ADHD who followed a restricted elimination diet, which involved removing certain foods from their diet, experienced significant improvements in their symptoms. Another study found that children with ADHD who consumed a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains had fewer symptoms of ADHD than those who consumed a diet high in processed foods and sugar.


A picture of healthy fruits and vegetables and healthy fats

Top 5 Foods for Improved Concentration in School

  1. Essential Fatty Acids: Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health. Omega-3s can help improve memory, focus, and mood, and may even reduce symptoms of ADHD. The quality of the fish is important, however, as many varieties of fish contain high levels of mercury and other harmful chemicals. Because of that, many parents opt for high quality Omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form, which have been batch-tested for safety from mercury and other contaminants.


2. Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and choline, a nutrient that is important for brain development and function. Choline has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function in children.

3. Berries: Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals. They are also high in fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve focus.

4. Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals that are important for brain health, such as magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E.

5. Whole Grains: Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, and quinoa (quinoa is a grain-like seed and technically a fruit) are a great source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, which can provide a steady supply of energy to the brain. They also contain vitamins and minerals that are important for brain health, such as B vitamins and iron.


Foods to Avoid for Children with ADHD


While there are many foods that can help improve concentration in children with ADHD, there are also foods that should be avoided. These include:

  1. Sugar: Sugar can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to a crash in energy and focus. It can also exacerbate symptoms of ADHD.

  2. Processed Foods: Processed foods are often high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, and are low in nutrients. They can contribute to nutrient deficiencies and exacerbate symptoms of ADHD.

  3. Artificial Additives: Artificial additives such as food coloring and preservatives have been linked to hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children.

Meal Planning for Children with ADHD


Meal planning can be a great way to ensure that your child is getting the nutrients they need to improve their concentration in school. Here are some tips for meal planning for children with ADHD:

  1. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in each meal.

  2. Choose lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, and safe fish.

  3. Include healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and seeds.

  4. Choose whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats.

  5. Limit sugar, processed foods, and artificial additives.

Tips for Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits in Children with ADHD


Encouraging healthy eating habits in children with ADHD can be challenging, but it is important. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Make healthy foods fun and appealing by presenting them in a creative way.

  2. Involve your child in the meal planning and preparation process.

  3. Offer a variety of healthy foods and let your child choose what they want to eat.

  4. Limit sugary snacks and drinks.

  5. Be a positive role model by eating healthy foods yourself.


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Additional Ways to Support Children with ADHD in School


In addition to diet, there are many other ways to support kids with ADHD in school. These can include:

  1. Getting enough sleep: Children with ADHD often have trouble sleeping, which can exacerbate symptoms. Encourage your child to establish a regular sleep routine and create a calming bedtime routine.

  2. Exercise: Exercise can help improve focus and reduce symptoms of ADHD. Encourage your child to participate in physical activities that they enjoy.

  3. Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices such as meditation and deep breathing can help improve focus and reduce stress.

  4. Therapy: Therapy can be a great way to help children with ADHD learn coping skills and manage their symptoms.

Incorporating Healthy Foods for Better Concentration


Eating a healthy diet can have a profound impact on your child's ability to concentrate in school. By choosing foods that are rich in nutrients and avoiding foods that can exacerbate symptoms of ADHD, you can help your child stay focused and alert in the classroom. Along with encouraging healthy eating habits, you can support your child in other helpful ways, such as getting enough sleep, exercising, and practicing mindfulness. Don't hesitate to reach out to a professional to best support your child and your family's needs along the way.


ADHD and picky eating often go hand in hand. If your child with ADHD is a picky eater, it can be difficult to get them on the right track with developing better eating habits.


Get the short eBook or paperback guide to turn your picky eater into a Brave Taster. Get it on Amazon today!


Build a Better Eater book for parents of picky eaters






All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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