Repeat after me: Coffee is not breakfast. Studies show that people who eat a real breakfast high in protein and vitamins are better able to concentrate, control their waistline, and resist afternoon cravings. We suggest these recipes for igniting your ADHD neurotransmitters from dawn to dusk.
Breakfast can make or break your entire day. We all know this, but we're also guilty of forgetting it — especially after struggling to wake up on time, churn through the morning routine, and get to work or get your child to school on time. At these times, we might try to pass off a Pop-Tart as an adequate breakfast. But it's not. Only eating the right kinds of food — and doing so within 30 minutes of waking up — will give your or your child’s ADHD brain the boost of neurotransmitters it needs to stay focused, energized, and happy all day long.
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Experts recommend eating a morning meal high in protein and healthy fats, which help you stay fuller longer and promote the production of dopamine and norepinephrine so often lacking in ADHD brains. Complex carbohydrates are good, but avoid simple carbs (like sugar) as they can cause your blood sugar to spike, hyperactive symptoms to emerge, and the body to “crash” later in the day. We’ve gathered a few quick breakfast recipes to rescue your morning — most ready in 15 minutes or less — to help you get a jump-start on the day.
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With its creamy texture and rich flavor, avocado feels like a decadent treat anytime. To make this simple meal, just mash up an avocado on two slices of whole wheat toast, sprinkle with salt, red pepper flakes, or a drizzle of lemon juice, and voila! The healthy fats, high levels of fiber, and simplicity make this the perfect meal for any adult or child with ADHD who can’t get behind traditional breakfast foods.
This one requires some advanced planning, but the results are well worth it! Every Sunday night, boil 10 eggs (set a reminder in your phone!) and store them in your fridge. Each morning, peel and serve two of them with a dash of salt and a glass of kefir, a fermented yogurt smoothie that’s high in calcium and healthy probiotics. If you set aside the time on Sunday, this whole meal will take just a few minutes to prepare and eat each morning — and will keep you or your child full all the way until lunch!
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After hitting the snooze button five times, you have no time to whip up an elaborate meal or wash dishes. That said, a big breakfast can have far-reaching positive effects on your day. The perfect compromise: the breakfast burrito. Begin by scrambling some eggs with a handful of spinach or other chopped veggies you have on hand. Melt cheese on a tortilla before adding in the eggs, avocado, and pre-cooked breakfast sausage. Fold it up and you’re good to go! This meal comes together quicker than you’d think, and the potential for variety staves off boredom over time.
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Fruit and Nut Bars
If you like to bake — or you prefer breakfast that can be eaten on the run — try whipping together these simple fruit and nut bars. They have just a little bit of sugar (satisfying your morning sweet tooth), and the nuts, dried fruit, and eggs will keep you full with healthy protein and fiber. Try making a batch over the weekend; they come together in less than an hour, and will last the whole week — and then some! Recipe by the Joy of Baking
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Oatmeal gets a bad rap, but it’s actually one of the easiest and healthiest choices for breakfast. Oats are a whole grain, they cook quickly, and they taste great with fruit, yogurt, maple syrup, or a dab of brown sugar. If you prefer a savory meal in the mornings, oatmeal can satisfy that craving, too. Try it with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper — or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, test out this garlicky spinach oatmeal recipe from TheNew York Times.
Another variation of the “stuff on toast” theme, this peanut butter and banana delight will delight your child and bring you right back to your childhood! Simply spread some natural peanut butter on whole grain toast, then chop up a banana on top. You can top it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, a drizzle of honey, or even a handful of granola for crunch.
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Pack in the Nutrients
Breakfast can be a challenge for parents and kids whose appetites are affected by stimulant medications. If you're struggling with morning meal-planning, try these non-traditional but nutrient dense and high calorie breakfasts such as fried chicken or pasta with meatballs. Remember, don't worry about fat — it's important for your child to consume sufficient calories especially if he's unable to eat large portions. Of course, adults can enjoy these breakfasts, too.
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Impromptu Kid-Style Breakfast Pizza
Toast a split English muffin until crisp. Add two tablespoons of evaporated or dry milk to one cup spaghetti sauce and heat. Spread the mixture on the muffin. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and meat over the sauce. Heat it in the microwave or oven until the cheese is melted. Serve with whole milk. This breakfast pizza offers Calcium, Iron, Vitamin C, Potassium, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Protein, Riboflavin, Niacin, and complex Carbohydrates. Leftover pizza from dinner also serves this purpose well.
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Huevos Rancheros-Style Omelet
In a medium size bowl beat 6 eggs, adding salt, ¼ cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of evaporated or dry milk until light and frothy. Melt butter in an omelet (or frying) pan and pour in egg mixture. Sauté eggs until firm on pan side. Spread spaghetti sauce, cheddar cheese and meat on top. Fold fried egg in half over sauce/cheese/meat mixture. Cover pan and reduce heat. Cook three more minutes over reduced heat. Serve with whole wheat toast, apple juice, and milk. This quick egg breakfast offers Protein, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, Riboflavin. On the weekend, try adding sautéed fresh vegetables such as green peppers and onions to the tomato sauce.
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Prepare 2 cups of instant oatmeal with cream instead of water, and divide it evenly in two bowls or sundae dishes. Scoop vanilla ice cream on top of the oatmeal and then put a teaspoon of preserves on top of the ice cream. Surround the ice cream with banana slices and nuts. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of dry milk and brown sugar. This fun breakfast offers Protein, calcium, carbohydrates, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin A, Iron, Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Vitamin D. Add any fresh fruit your child prefers: peaches, raisins, apples, and pears work especially well. Nuts and dried fruits are especially nutrient and calorie dense.