How to Maintain an ADHD Diet During the Holidays

December 18, 2014 by Dr. Yannick Pauli

Getting your child to give up favorite foods for an ADHD diet is tricky, and the holiday season might make it more difficult. The last few weeks of the year will be filled with dinner parties, family reunions, and other types of gatherings centered on food. Your child might feel left out when cousins enjoy forbidden holiday treats, and relatives won’t understand why he or she can’t have just one tiny cookie. It may not be a good idea to take a break from your child’s diet and start from scratch after a few weeks, but here are some tips that will make eating a fun occasion for your child during the holidays.

Host the party

Offer to host this year’s holiday dinner party or family gathering. This way, you can make sure that all dishes being served is allowed by your child’s diet, be it the Feingold diet or the gluten-free casein-free diet. If your house cannot accommodate all your guests, offer to prepare the food for the party instead.

Look for alternatives to forbidden ingredients

The holidays won’t be as magical for a child without a steaming mug of hot chocolate, gingerbread cookies, or candy cane. The problem is that these foods are normally eliminated in most ADHD diets. However, you can easily give your child some holiday treats if you can find additive-free, gluten-free, or casein-free alternatives to these unwanted ingredients. Gluten-free casein-free cookbooks are easily available in all bookstores, but you can also find useful recipes when you search online.

Consider a desensitization treatment

If you do not have time to host parties or prepare holiday feasts, consider a desensitization treatment to make your child less sensitive to food allergens. Look for chiropractors or doctors who specialize in enzyme therapy, food allergy elimination, or organ-specific detoxification. A caveat: these techniques won’t work overnight; it may take several months before you see any noticeable results.

Ask for support

Support from family and friends can make it easier for your child to stick to a diet but it’s likely that your relatives don’t understand why your child can’t just take a pill. When planning the holiday festivities, take time to educate them on the logic behind your child’s diet – certain food substances or ingredients influence brain activity and trigger hyperactive behavior, aggression, or inattention.