The trip to the grocery store is one of the biggest challenges faced by parents of children with ADHD. Applying behavioral strategies and involving children in the food selection process can be extremely valuable in setting them up for a lifetime of healthy choices. They can learn about planning ahead, organizing lists of needs, and selecting foods based on budget, preference, and nutritive value.
Here are 3 effective strategies to teach parents of children with ADHD when it comes to grocery shopping.
Make a list and stick to it.
Involve the child in the planning process by having them help make the grocery list at home. Children learn from example and need to see the thought process that goes behind making a grocery list.
- Determine the period that this grocery trip is going to cover: 1 week, 2 weeks, a special occasion.
- Staples: Which foods are staples that always need to be purchased? What is the rate of consumption of these foods? How much will be purchased?
- Meals: What will the breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals consist of for this period? Which foods are needed for those meals? Have the child/children help with food inventory…”how much cereal do we have left?” Involve the children in food selection for the meals.
- Coupons/Discounts: Children can also learn about budget by finding coupons for items on the list.
Discuss healthy food choices.
All parents and children know that fruits and vegetables are healthy. Yet, they rarely talk about it. One strategy to get children with ADHD focused on healthy eating is to talk to them before and during the grocery store trip. Peruse the grocery list and count the number of fruits and vegetables. Older children can rate the healthiness of each. Allow the child to select fruits and vegetables that are appealing to them. Incorporate one at each meal. Explain the need to eat more than 5 per day. Set expectations for your child.
Make grocery shopping fun!
Children with ADHD can easily become distracted, irritated, or unsettled when they are not engaged. Engage the child with small tasks such as a scavenger hunt for the cheapest Greek yogurt, allowing them to select one new fruit or vegetable for the whole family to try, or encouraging them to select all the items for one meal that they want to help prepare. This kind of engagement ensures that they are involved in the process, that their opinion matters, and prevents them from being entertained by the food marketing that is directed to them. This strategy increases the amount of fun that they associate with grocery shopping.
When kids are having fun, parents are having fun!
Most parents who approach nutrition professionals with questions about nutrition and ADHD are expecting information on nutrient therapies and advice on elimination diets. They are elated to learn that nutrition counseling spans to include dietary behaviors and food environments.
Behavioral modification strategies for both parents and children are needed to ensure nutritional health for the whole family. So, parents need to learn these strategies. Nutrition professionals can not only discuss this with parents, but can demonstrate on a grocery store trip.
To learn more about nutrition interventions (nutritive and behavioral) for children with ADHD, take the Nutrition & ADHD course (2 CPEUs) or the Nutrition & ADHD course bundle (10 CPEUs) at the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals. These courses provide a background on ADHD, a review of the evidence behind specific nutrients and ADHD, as well as a discussion on several nutrition behavioral strategies to implement in nutrition interventions. The bundle also provides experience with real-life ADHD nutrition interventions.
Great nutrition professionals include nutritional considerations into their nutrition interventions. Do not be left out, learn how to help families eat better today.
© NOVEDGO 2016