Children with behavioral problems such as ADHD can have problems getting to sleep, and unfortunately if they haven’t had enough sleep these behavioral problems can be a vicious cycle.
Most often, behavioral issues can be treated with dietary changes and careful supplementation, with elimination diets being the most common practice in helping with a diagnosis and treatment thereafter.
Many diets that help people with overcoming digestive disorders such as coeliac, crohn’s and IBS can be mimicked and be implemented into a child’s diet with behavioral problems. Generally speaking, most of these diets concentrate on a ‘whole food’ approach with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and nuts and seeds. Processed foods, artificial additives and sweeteners are eliminated from the diet. The bonus being most ‘whole foods’ contain nutrients such as magnesium and tryptophan, nutrients needed to aid in sleep, while also help in balancing your child’s blood sugar level.
An advantage we have today, as more of these digestive or behavioral problems are becoming more recognised, is the amount of fantastic food ideas we have available. Gone are the days of the meat and 3 veg (although in some way sometimes simple is best) and in, are the exciting ways we can incorporate whole foods into ours, and our children’s diet, and hopefully succeeding in kerbing sleep and behavioral problems.
Try these recipes packed with those nutrients required for a good nights sleep.
- 1 c. cooked lentils (I used leftovers but you can also use uncooked)
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup stewed tomatoes
- 1 cup kale or spinach
- Olive oil
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cup basamati rice
- 4-6 c. chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- black pepper (to taste)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp paprika
- Optional add in –> 1/2 c. chopped zucchini or corn
- Parmesan Cheese
- 8-10 ounces (1-2 cups) cooked leftover turkey/ham or meat of choice. Vegans use tempeh! or just leave out..
- In a large pot, sauté garlic, celery, carrots, and onion in butter or oil until tender. Stir in spinach/kale until slightly cooked.
- Drain water from lentils and add lentils to vegetable mixture. Pour in your broth and rice and bring to a boil then lower temperature down and simmer for 20-30 minutes until rice and lentils are almost cooked.
- Note: If you want it thicker, keep the broth to 4 cups, if you want it more soup, add more broth or water.
- Next, Add in tomatoes, spinach/kale, the rest of your herbs/spices, and cooked lamb meat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes more. Top with Parmesan Cheese and serve. Makes about 6-8 cups depending on how much broth you end up adding.
- Quick Cook Option: If you want to cook this in 30 minutes or less, use canned lentil and veggie soup instead of uncooked lentils. I used Amy’s organic lentil stew before and it works great!
- Great with Cheddar crackers. We used Udis Gluten Free Jalapeño Cheddar Ancient Grain crisps (AMAZING!)
This can easily go in the crock pot too! on low for 4-6hrs.
- 6 eggs, separated
- 6 slices ham, diced finely
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup mozarella cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a 12 cup muffin tray with canola spray and set aside.
- In a bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, ham, onion and cheese.
- Fold egg yolk mixture gently through the egg whites using a metal spoon.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin tray and bake for 12-14 minutes.
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon flaxseeds, preferably golden
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (see Note)
- ⅓ cup currants
- ⅓ cup chopped dried apricots
- ⅓ cup chopped golden raisins
- ¼ cup creamy almond butter (see Note)
- ¼ cup turbinado sugar (see Note)
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.
- Spread oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds and sesame seeds on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the oats are lightly toasted and the nuts are fragrant, shaking the pan halfway through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add cereal, currants, apricots and raisins; toss to combine.
- Combine almond butter, sugar, honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles lightly, 2 to 5 minutes.
- Immediately pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until no dry spots remain. Transfer to the prepared pan. Lightly coat your hands with cooking spray and press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait until the mixture cools slightly if necessary). Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes; cut into 8 bars.
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month; thaw at room temperature.
Ingredient notes: For this recipe, we like unsweetened puffed multi-grain cereal, such as Kashi’s 7 Whole Grain Puffs.
Almond butter can be found at natural-foods stores and large supermarkets, near the peanut butter.
Turbinado sugar is steam-cleaned raw cane sugar. It’s coarse-grained and light brown in color, with a slight molasses flavor. Find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets or at natural-foods stores.
Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.
Storage smarts: For long-term freezer storage, wrap your food in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. The plastic will help prevent freezer burn while the foil will help keep off-odors from seeping into the food.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 700g of ground/minced turkey
- 1 egg
- 1 carrot, shredded finely
- 1 zucchini, shredded finely
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt to taste
- English muffins (optional)
- Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until just combined — don’t over mix or compact the meat.
- Gently press turkey into flat patties (they will poof up a lot during cooking).
- Heat olive oil in pan, and add turkey patties, sauteing about 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked through.
- Top with ketchup or lemon mayonnaise* atop a lightly toasted English muffin (so it’s warm but still soft enough for your toddler to bite through).
Tip: To make lemon mayonnaise, mix 2 tablespoons of mayo with one teaspoon of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. This condiment goes better with the turkey flavor than ketchup, in my opinion.
Tip: Omit the English muffin for younger toddlers; just cut up the meat into small, easy-to-chew pieces.
Tip: Great served with sweet potato fries and broccoli.
- 4 salmon fillets (about 175g each), skin off
- ¼ cup plain flour
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Slice the salmon fillets into large ‘fish fingers’ about 1.5cm thick.
- Combine flour, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl; transfer to a flat dinner plate or piece of baking paper.
- Coat both sides of the salmon fillet with the flour mixture.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick frypan and cook the salmon 2-3 minutes each side until still a bit pink in the middle (longer if you like salmon cooked through).
- Depending on the size of your frypan, you may need to cook the salmon in batches.
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
- 1 x 440g tin of black beans, well rinsed and strained
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (75g) sugar-free cocoa
- 3/4 cup (125g) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (75g) wholemeal flour
- For ganache:100g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 1/3 cup (80ml) pouring cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Grease and line a shallow slice pan.
- Put rinsed beans and eggs into a powerful blender and pulse until smooth.
- One at a time, add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, cocoa, sugar and flour and whiz between additions to prevent clogging up or uneven blending.
- Use a spatula to scrape the mixture into the pan.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, then turn out onto a cake rack to cool.
- To make the ganache, put chocolate, cream and butter into a small saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until combined and smooth.
- Transfer the uncut brownie slab onto a cutting board and pour the ganache over evenly, smoothing with a knife. Wait 10 minutes, or until the ganache sets, before slicing into 16 even fingers.