Increasing Your Child’s Attention Through Nutrition and Sensory Tricks

Utensil use

Our nutrition, diet, and behavior go hand in hand. Food is the fuel to get our body and nervous system organized and ready for the day! You can create a huge impact on your child’s attention and state of arousal through offering specific foods during meals and snack time.

The following are research-based food items that can increase attention, memory, spatial learning, and/or sleep:

  • Omega 3 foods: Walnuts, Cashews, Almonds, Salmon, Flax seeds, Chia seeds, Dark leafy greens (like spinach, brussel sprouts, or kale)
  • Iron rich foods: Red meats, sesame seeds, lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, seafood, raisins
  • Magnesium rich foods: Bananas, yogurt, dried fruits
  • Foods rich with antioxidants: Blackberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Pecans, Walnuts, Kidney Beans, Oranges
  • Proteins: Peanut Butter, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, avocado, yogurt, cheese, hummus, milk
  • High Fiber Grains: Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Chickpeas, Whole Wheat bread

You can also capitalize on tougher food items that require increased effort to chew, which provides resistance to oral motor musculature and subsequently promotes improved attention and organization:

  • Crunchy/chewy foods: granola bar, raw carrots, raw celery, thick pretzels, raw peppers, raw apples, cheese, nuts, dry cereal, raw broccoli, fruit leather/roll-ups
  • Foods and drinks that utilize strong sucking: Sugar-free hard candies, drinking yogurt/applesauce/smoothies through a straw, provide long crazy straw for drinks

 

Here are some sample diets that can be planned for your child’s school day:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas and strawberries
Lunch: Hard-boiled egg, nuts, cheese, carrots with hummus
Snacks: Celery with peanut butter and raisins, yogurt through a straw, apple slices
Dinner: Steak, brown rice, brussel sprouts or broccoli

Breakfast: Yogurt with granola, blueberries, and blackberries
Lunch: Turkey, avocado, and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread; applesauce through a straw; peppers and hummus; orange slices
Snacks: Apple with peanut butter, almonds, dried fruits
Dinner: Baked salmon, quinoa, spinach or cooked carrots

Consult your therapist at My Kids Therapy to find ways to support your child’s health and attention as part our holistic approach to treatment! 410-451-5700