ADHD children are often thin. Adults who are food sensitive are much more often underweight than overweight. Since your tolerance of suspect food is less with underweight the first priority is to ensure that sufficient food is included to maintain normal weight. There is a difference between being “wiry” and “too thin”! To obtain sufficient energy, all meals and snacks need to be included. Make sure main meal foods are included first.
Plan meals so that some food is included every three hours. It is wise to take allowed food and drinks on outings, and to have dry snack food in the car in case eating time is delayed. Note the time between the last food at night and breakfast in the morning. It should not be more than twelve hours in thin, active children, nor in thin adults.
Some children are thin, and also on a medication that affects their appetite. Where this happens, ensure they have big breakfasts, and big dinners at night, as these meals are usually outside the medication effect time. They do need to eat the other meals, but catch up with dinner, dessert and supper in the evening. With meds that last long times but the treatment is working you can encourage all the usual meals, without missing any.
Several possible reasons for underweight: –
* hyperactive children use a great deal of energy. Even if they are not clearly hyperactive, fidgety or restless behaviour also uses energy,
* they often have a high body temperature, showing energy is being used to provide heat,
* they are easily distracted from every activity, including eating, even if they are hungry,
* they are often immature so they do not respond to usual encouragement such as “eat this to grow big and strong” (until they are aged ten when increased weight may get them into a sports team),
* before diet investigation they may be “happy high” and just not hungry,
* they may be fussy and prefer to eat nothing rather than food they do not want,
* sometimes families with the best of intentions are providing good nutrition meals that are really those for weight control, maybe even feeling they should not provide mid-meal snacks, which this group do need.
* be aware that a small proportion of the population of people need lots of food, despite that fact that most people need to listen to ideas on the importance of reducing the total energy to be healthy.
* adults who are food sensitive but not hyperactive may not realize they need to attend to food intake. They may always be “busy” and need to make sure they stop and eat, so meals are not neglected. My friends will remind me that I should attend to this!