Does a Good Diet Affect a Kid's Behavior?

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Breakfast


After 8 to 12 hours of sleep at night, your little one needs a good breakfast to refuel his body. According to KidsHealth.org., when your child has a healthy breakfast he has more energy and will be in a better mood. Breakfast not only improves your child's temperament, but also improves his overall health. Children who eat breakfast are more apt to engage in physical activities, have a healthier metabolism and less likely to overeat during lunch.

Benefits of Iron


According to researchers at Fernleaf Institute, iron is a vital mineral for your child's development. If your little one doesn't have enough iron in his diet, he will feel tired and may have difficulty focusing. Babies with iron deficiencies are often irritable and lethargic. Iron is also important to your child's brain development -- which will affect his cognitive development and behavior. A diet with iron rich foods -- meat, poultry, fish, legumes, fruits and vegetables -- will support normal development and provide your child with energy.

ADHD and Diet


Some children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder do benefit from a diet free of food additives. According to Nutrition Action, many of the studies that have been done since 1970 -- when the idea was first proposed that food can affect a child's behavior -- have found that a relatively small number of ADHD children benefit from following an additive-free diet. These children had improved symptoms with additive-free foods, and they became much more irritable when they ate food dyes or certain foods such as corn, wheat, milk, soy, eggs and chocolate. While diet may work for a few, Susan Roberts of Tufts University states that one diet won't be the miraculous cure for most suffers of ADHD.

The Sugar Factor


The AskDrSears website states that children should eat diets with the complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains and fruits rather than the simple sugars found in sodas, candies and packaged desserts. According to the AskDrSears website, studies about the effects of sugar on children's behavior are contradictory, but the consensus is that children are more sugar sensitive than adults. When a child consumes too much simple sugar, his behavior and ability to focus and learn begin to deteriorate. The AskDrSears website states that feeding your child foods with low-glycemic indexes -- defined by the American Diabetes Association as foods that are slow to raise blood sugar levels -- are best for optimal nutrition. Foods with low glycemic indexes as well as low fat and calorie levels -- such as kidney beans, sweet potatoes and carrots -- reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and leave kids feeling fuller long than foods containing simple sugars.
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