How do you make changes in your kids diet to help them without bringing tears!!

Let me tell you it is hard.  My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety.  I took her to the Dr. Amen Center to be evaluated. They do a brain scan to figure out what is going on and then come up with a treatment that does not use the typically prescribed drugs for ADHD.  The reason I took her to the Amen Clinics was not because she was hyper, though she did have a lot of energy, but because her teacher told me she does not pay attention in class and her grades were slipping.

Before I took her to Dr. Amen I first took her to a cognitive learning center where they retrained her brain to focus better and that really helped. With this training we saw a huge improvement with her short term memory skills.  She started to improve in school but not fast enough for the teacher who was hypersensitive to my daughter not paying attention.

This was when I found the Amen Clinic in Costa Mesa, California. They treat the brain for all types of issues from concussions to ADHD. Famous football players go here for treatment. What they found when they scanned my daughter’s brain was that yes she had ADHD, anxiety, and impulsivity which helped explain so much. Sometimes she does not think before she acts!!  I love her for it and I never get mad at her for this because she can’t help it.

The doctor that treated my daughter told me that if I would have taken her to a general practitioner to evaluate her they would have immediately put her on medication. This is specifically the reason I didn’t take her to a regular doctor, because I didn’t want her on medication and the only pills the Amen Clinic recommends is supplements which made more sense to me. Why jump right to prescription drugs before trying other options!

The fascinating part of the visit to the clinic was that he said her brain was inflamed around the outside of her brain and she could have food intolerances.  He recommended taking her to get a biomeridian test versus an allergy test because it is easier on a child, has less risks, and is faster, to see if she had any food intolerances.

Well I did and she did!! It was crazy, she had an intolerance to gluten, anything from a cow including american and cheddar cheese,  brown and white rice, kale, mango (her favorite), sugar and many more things. I was thinking what am I going to feed her? I went to the Mother’s Market and Sprouts and started reading label after label to find something she could eat. I started by buying every kind of non-flour so I could make her food from scratch.  It was so hard at first like anything but then you get used to it.

Taking her off the sugar was the most difficult thing I had to do. Like I said before it’s in everything! If you look at any ingredients label you will most likely find some form of sugar has been added. During these two months I wouldn’t even let her cheat or get a treat for doing something really well.  She would go to birthday parties or school parties and she wouldn’t be able to eat the treats. I tried to send her treats she could have but it was not the same to her. She cried and said she was a kid and should be able to eat the things I had taken away. I even had adults tell me she was just a kid and should be able to eat sugar.  In my mind, what does being a kid have to do with eating sugar. Taking my daughter off sugar had a huge affect on her and she was able to stop wiggling constantly, she stopped acting without thinking, she was able to concentrate better, and she started doing much better in school.

After two months we went back for a follow up biomeridian appointment and some of her tolerances had gotten better.  She could now eat white and brown rice which is used a lot in gluten free food and that made cooking easier.

This was almost  three years ago and we are still trying to eat gluten, dairy and sugar free but we do allow ourselves a treat once a week as long as we ate healthy during the week.  It is all a balance and we are kind to ourselves for the choices we make. I’m working on my next book and it has to do with kids making healthy choices which I think we need to teach our kids especially in this world that sugar is everything you eat.

Tips on eating gluten, dairy or sugar free:

Tip 1

I now ask my daughter do you want to drink your sugar or eat it?  She of course wants to eat it but gets so mad at me for not letting her drink lemonade or sprite while we are out. I am so excited I finally found something she likes that is good for her after at least 50 attempts.  It is made by Dr. Axe, it is flavored collagen.  We tried the strawberry lemonade flavor and take it with us everywhere.  He also makes cucumber lime flavor that we are looking forward to trying.

Tip 2

Teach your kid to read labels at the store or ask the waiter what’s in the drink or food before ordering.  My daughter now knows what to look for when reading the labels and she puts it back if there is something we don’t eat in it instead of asking me if she can have it.  I love this because it will hopefully help her as she grows up and my hope is she wants to feed her kids this way.

Tip 3

Before going to a restaurant check the menu to make sure they have something everyone can eat.  We always Google “gluten free or organic near me” to find a restaurant that we can eat at.

Tip 4

We like to have treats like anyone else and it is not worth taking her to places that have nothing healthy.  You will be surprised what you will find if you go looking for healthy alternatives. We just learned that there is a dairy free ice cream store near us.  It’s called Hug Life Ice Cream. The name makes you want to love it. It is called the anti-dairy ice cream store.  While it still contains sugar it doesn’t have dairy and if you don’t get a cone you only have 1 out 3 (dairy, gluten or sugar) which is not bad for a treat. The important part is my daughter loves it.

Please share any tips you have with me at or emailing me at [email protected] and look for future blog posts.

Happy Eating!!

about the author

Keri Collins is a children’s author who helps kids and parents better themselves by making better choices. She blogs about parenting and kids’ issues, and offers plenty of tips and other advice.