This time, I'd like to talk about the benefits of starting or upgrading your child's new diet during summer. This truly is the absolute ideal time to work healthy foods into your child's diet!
These are my top reasons why NOW is the time to take action:
- Time of Plenty: There is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables this time of year. The variety of colorful fruits and veggies just draws you in when you see it. Explore your many options by trying a new produce item every week. Let your children choose what's next and have great fun with it!
- It is hot out: Cool, simple meals and snacks are easy and fun this time of year. Turn off that hot oven and experiment with what you can eat without cooking your food. Salads, fresh veggies with a yummy dip, sweet fresh fruits are all enjoyable when the weather is warm. You can also hide all kinds of superfoods, greens, and supplements in blended fruit smoothies - a super healthy fast food! If your kids don't want drinkable smoothies, freeze them into homemade Popsicle molds and make other non-dairy ice creams that are so healthy you don't have to feel bad about giving your kids sweet treats!
- No school means more control over what your child eats: It's more difficult to change your child's diet when they are around other kids eating "regular" foods and all the things you are trying to move away from. Use this opportunity to form new healthy habits. It's easier on your child while they are at home more and away from the influence of others.
- Fewer Activities: With no school parties and extra-curricular activities is to plan for and no school lunch to work around, its not only easier on your child, but it's easier on YOU! Get grounded in your new lifestyle at home and you can worry about school lunches and activities later!
- Fewer Holidays: With the exception of 4th of July in the US, (please forgive me if I'm unaware of your country's holiday!) there are no other large holidays revolving around food. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentine's Day, etc. can be a cause of stress and overwhelm for those new to the Autism and ADHD diet and who aren't prepared for it.
- Less Stress: Use these months to go through the diet transitioning process outside the stress of school, teachers, homework, tests, expectations and conformity. Your child is under less pressure so your home is likely to be more peaceful and it's just an easier time to make changes.
Do some evaluation: Determine what it is you want to see improve or change, evaluate your current diet, decide how you want to upgrade it, and go for it! Take it one step at a time and focus on one change only. It will be easier to make progress this way.
Do you still feel overwhelmed or just need a bit of help to work through the whole process? I also offer private coaching to help you reach your goals.
As a final thought, some parents attempt to use the summer months to lower or eliminate medication doses**, which is a great idea. If that is the case for you, and you have been toying with the idea of trying dietary changes, this is your perfect opportunity to begin an elimination diet. You can go without or reduce your child's medications** for a couple of weeks to get an idea what your child is like without them in case you've lost touch with that. (**Always work under the supervision of your child's doctor when reducing or eliminating medications!)
After your child's system has had a chance to re-adjust, simply begin eliminating the big offenders (artificial ingredients like preservatives, flavorings, colorings, MSG, artificial sweeteners, etc.) and possible allergens like gluten, casein and soy. Use this less stressful time to go through the trial elimination process and keep a journal to record all your results. Who knows? You may just decide that this is the route for you!
Whatever your choices are for your child, I wish you a very happy and healthy summer with lots of family fun!