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Nourishing Love: Strategies for Supporting Your ADHD Spouse's Nutrition

How to get an ADHD spouse to eat healthy
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Early in my marriage, I used to feel frustrated with my ADHD spouse whenever I had to discard carefully prepared meals meant for him. To me, it felt like a lack of understanding of the love, care, and effort I had put into cooking. It wasn't until later that I realized ADHD behaviors, such as forgetfulness and distractions, often led him to miss meals or forget about the food I had made for him. While we shared a chuckle over last Friday's comic about the forgotten lasagna, a scenario is all too familiar for many ADHD couples, including us. While it may seem amusing, it can also have health challenges such as skin dermatitis, depression, low energy, etc. Multiple studies, including one mentioned here (1), have pointed out that adults with ADHD often have lower levels of essential vitamins, such as B2, B6, and B9. Low levels of B2 and B9 have also been associated with increased severity of ADHD symptoms. Additionally, according to an article in psychology, women with ADHD have a greater risk of obesity. Women diagnosed with ADHD during childhood were found to be twice as likely to be obese in childhood or adulthood compared to those without an ADHD diagnosis(2).


Women who had diagnosed with ADHD during childhood were twice as likely to be obese in either childhood or adulthood than those who had no history of ADHD diagnosis.

While it might be frustrating that when my ADHD spouse forget to eat our personally prepared meals or skipping meals all together, making sure he receives proper nutrition intake has been top of mind for me. Today, I share a few tips that I have adopted to help both my ADHD spouse and I to maintain healthy diets:


Tip 1: Green Smoothies


green smoothies to help ADHD spouse get their greens in easily.

Inspired by Sophie Uliano, a best-selling author and certified nutritionist, I now make smoothies 2-3 times a week in the morning, often using her recipes that always include greens as ingredients. I always make extra portions so my spouse can start the day with something incredibly healthy. This ensures he gets at least 2-3 servings of greens and vegetables right at the beginning of the day.


Tip 2: Proteins, Proteins, Proteins


Proteins are much better than simple carbohydrates because it keeps you full longer.

Proteins are well-known for stabilizing energy levels and reducing hunger. Therefore, my fridge is always stocked with proteins such as chicken, low-sodium ham, and turkey. This allows my ADHD spouse to always have protein in meals and snacks that he makes for himself and gives me some peace of mind that he is consuming something healthy and nutritious.


Tip 3: Consuming Rainbows


Alternative vegetable colors to help your get a variety of nutrients that your ADHD spouse needs.

Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors provides a variety of nutrients essential for overall health. Therefore, when I shop for groceries, I aim to include 4 or more different colors of fruits and vegetables to ensure balanced nutrition at every meal.


Tip 4: Include Whole Grains


Although my ADHD spouse has a preference for white rice, pasta, and white bread, all of which are simple carbohydrates, I've found ways to incorporate whole grains into his diet. For rice-based dishes, I typically substitute 30% of the rice with quinoa or wild rice. With pasta, I opt for brown rice pasta as a healthier alternative. By increasing his intake of whole grains, which are considered complex carbohydrates, I minimize blood sugar crashes that can lead to daytime sleepiness for my spouse.


Conclusion:


In navigating the challenges of mealtime with an ADHD spouse, I've come to realize that while I can't always control when he eats, I can certainly influence what he eats. By incorporating more nutritious and balanced foods into his diet through the tips shared above, I've noticed subtle changes that my ADHD spouse now enjoys. These small adjustments not only provide me with peace of mind, but they also contribute to his overall stability and well-being. So, while mealtime may still have its hurdles, knowing that I can support him in nourishing his body with healthier options brings a sense of empowerment and fulfillment to our relationship. Remember, even the smallest changes can make a big difference in promoting better health and happiness for both partners in an ADHD marriage.


What small adjustments have you made to help your ADHD spouse maintain a more nutritious and balanced diet? Share your tips with me and the rest of the community by commenting below.


Sources:

  1. Landaas ET, Aarsland TI, Ulvik A, Halmøy A, Ueland PM, Haavik J. Vitamin levels in adults with ADHD. BJPsych Open. 2016 Dec 13;2(6):377-384. doi: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.116.003491. PMID: 27990293; PMCID: PMC5153567.

  2. Young, Joe M.D. (2015, March 9). Understanding the Link Between ADHD and Obesity, Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201603/understanding-the-link-between-adhd-and-obesity Accessed April 8, 2024.


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