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Diet and Academic Achievement: Your Child is What He Eats!

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As I mentioned in my webinar last week your child truly is what he eats.  If he eats a crappy diet, don’t expect his behavior and learning to be excellent!

A recent study published in European Journal of Nutrition studied the relationship between diet and school achievement 161 Finnish children ages 6-8 years.  Parents kept diet records for 4-day.  These were evaluated using three different measures of diet quality.  They then compared those scores with academic achievement including reading fluency, reading comprehension and arithmetic skill tests.

Here’s what they found: Healthier diets were associated with better reading skills (both fluency and comprehension), but not with math skills.

The researchers concluded: serve more vegetables, fruits, berries and low-fat milk (if not sensitive to dairy).  Serve less red meat, sausage and foods high in sugar.  Makes sense!  Try it, your whole family will be healthier and you will be helping them make healthy food choices for life!  What a gift you will be giving them.

The Recipes Are Now Available


You can now see the recipes on the main page of the newsletter.  Just click on “Recipes!”

If You Have a Picky Eater…


During my webinar for ADDitude Magazine last Friday several questions came up about picky eaters and how to get them to broaden their food selection.  I have a few more comments to add to what I said.

First, please don’t turn meals into war zones over food (or other problems)!  Mealtime should be a happy time where family members share the highlights of their day.  So no arguments over what your child will eat or not eat! No world war III.

Second, with that said, research has shown that for some children new foods need to be presented several times with the suggestion they eat one bite.  Sometimes it may take 10 times before the child decides the food may be acceptable after all!  So persist and don’t give up!

Third, here are some examples of healthy foods that children tend to like: Cherry tomatoes because they are small and rather sweet; red grapes for the same reason; baby carrots with a dip; a cup of vegetable soup because some children would rather drink their vegetables, a fruit smoothie for the same reason; orange juice but don’t overdo because of the high natural sugar; blueberries with a little xylitol; fresh sweet pitted red cherries. A dab of unsweetened peanut butter on a spoon.

Fourth, sometimes including healthy vegetables and fruits in other foods will be tolerated.  For example, pumpkin bread is healthy because of the beta carotene rich pumpkin.  Chopped nuts will also add to its nutritional value.  Just replace the sugar in the recipe with xylitol, monk fruit, or stevia.  Or try a cherry crisp using frozen dark sweet cherries and white whole wheat flour, xylitol, and butter for the topping.  Or make this with blueberries.

Fifth, my family used to gather in the kitchen before a meal.  They were starving so I would put out a plate of veggies on the counter with a dip, and before the meal had started they had consumed a serving of veggies.

If you have any suggestions for picky eaters, I hope you’ll write and share them with other readers.  Good luck!




More about Yesterday’s Webinar…

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Laura photo #17If you weren’t able to join us yesterday for the Webinar by ADDitude Magazine you can still go to their website and click on the webinar to hear my presentation and see all my slides.

A couple of things I wanted to add.  If your child is sensitive to milk or doesn’t like milk products, then he/she will need a calcium supplement every day.  Some (but not all) of the milk replacement products like rice, coconut, soy, and almond milks have calcium added–about 300 mgs per cup.  You’ll find a table of RDAs for different age groups below.  If your child is age 8 and drinking 2 glasses of fortified soy milk each day he will be getting about 600 mgs.  So you will want to add a supplement of 400 mgs to make the 1000 mgs total for the day.  I like to use calcium citrate powder.  It has no taste and dissolves well in juice or water.  Calcium has a calming effect on some children while building strong bones and teeth! Some of the milk substitutes also contain vitamin D but the amounts are not great–100 to 120 mgs per cup.

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Calcium [1]
Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
0–6 months* 200 mg 200 mg
7–12 months* 260 mg 260 mg
1–3 years 700 mg 700 mg
4–8 years 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
9–13 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg
14–18 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg 1,300 mg 1,300 mg

To Those Who Attended My Webinar

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I really enjoyed doing the webinar and hope I helped some children and parents.  Remember, just a step at a time.  Don’t be overwhelmed!  Rome wasn’t built in a day so helping your child may take some time!  Hang in there!

I went online to look up a couple of things so I thought I’d share them.

The first is Mealtime Hostage.  It’s at  I think you’ll find it really interesting if you have a picky eater.

The second is about Muscle Milk.  The bottle says this: “Contains no milk/includes milk protein.”  I have no idea what that means!  Does it or does it not contain cows’ milk?  I couldn’t seem to access the ingredients label.  Perhaps, someone who uses it could tell us.

The third is about Child Life Beverage.  It’s a liquid containing magnesium and calcium.  One tablespoon (l serving) contains:

100 IU vitamin D

Calcium 252 mg

Magnesium 115 mg

Zinc 2 mg

That’s not a lot of vitamin D.  Calcium is okay.  Magnesium is low but if you give it a couple times a day it would be enough.  The 2 mg of zinc is probably not enough to correct a zinc deficiency.

If you have any questions, please let me know!




Laura photo #17I hope you will tune in tomorrow at 1:00 for my free Webinar sponsored by ADDitude Magazine.  It’s all about helping your child through diet and exercise do better in school and behave better at home. Just go to and click on the link for the Webinar. I recommend that you print out my slides so you can look back at them later.  See you then!

Upcoming Webinar: Your Back-to-School Nutrition and Exercise Plan for a Great School Year


Laura photo #17On Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern time I will be giving a Webinar at ADDitude magazine.  The title is Your Back-to-School Nutrition and Exercise Plan for a Great School Year.  It’s free for anyone who wants to listen.  If I were you, I’d print out all the slides so you’ll have them to look at afterwards.  I think you’ll really learn a lot that will help your child have a better school year.

I will review a day in a child’s life–Tommy–and how diet and exercise changed his behavior and helped him succeed in school.

If you can’t attend next Thursday, you will be able to go to ADDitude’s website and bring up the link.  ADDitude is a great website with a ton of information about ADHD and related disorders!  If you haven’t visited the website before

just go to

Every Child Should Reduce Sugar Intake

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Sugar in ChildrenThis morning the CBS Morning Show featured the recommendation from the American Heart Association that every child ages 2 to 18 should reduce his/her sugar intake to less than than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of added sugars (sucrose, fructose, honey) each day. (The average child in the US consumes 3 times that every day.)  One of the authors, Miriam Vos, M.D. from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia commented that, “Children who eat foods loaded with added sugars tend to eat fewer healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain and low-fat dairy products that are good for their health”.  Added sugars are any sugars used in processing and preparation or added at the table.  Just look at the Nutrition Label on all products you buy under Carbohydrates, then sugars.  The number is in grams–just divide by 4 to get the number of teaspoons. Starting in 2018 manufacturers will be required to list the amount of added sugars on all labels.

Many children with ADHD do much better eating very low or zero sugar!  Try a no-sugar diet for a week or two and see if your child looks, feels, and acts better!!  Then challenge him with sugar and see if he gets worse.  The directions for this are in my book, “Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child.” Try substituting xylitol for the sugar.


Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child is Highly Recommended!


Review of Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child by PURE FACTS, a wonderful publication–a must read–for parents, teachers, and other professionals who deal with children who have ADD/ADHD.  PURE FACTS has been published by experts for years.  You can order it online at

“Laura Stevens is a prolific writer who has
studied and written about hyperactivity (now called ADHD) for many years, and she has
collaborated with doctors who have been decades ahead of their time in understanding how food is related to behavior, learning and health.There is a growing awareness today of the importance of essential fatty acids (EFAs) for our health, and especially how vital they are for the child with an ADHD diagnosis. Long before this became so widely known, she was involved in research using EFAs for these youngsters.

“More recently, Laura carried out a study that calculated the actual amount of food dyes in many common brand name products. This is information  that was sorely lacking in the early studies on the Feingold Diet  and is one of the reasons the old studies had mixed results. Researchers relied on the estimates of the food industry that the average child consumed around 27 milligrams of dye a day, and they based their study designs on that. Sadly, the numbers were far from realistic since children typically ate about ten times as much as the food manufacturers claimed!

“In her newest book, she has gathered the most significant infor-mation we now have about how to help children with learning and behavior problems after the basic
changes have been made to remove major offenders like additives, and
test for a sensitivity to salicylates. Some children continue to have a residue of problems even after they have taken these steps.

“Stevens provides information on lab tests that can help identify other culprits. The book covers the roles of sleep and exercise and nutrients like magnesium, iron and zinc. It suggests ways to learn if problems are being triggered by things like food sensitivities, inhalant allergies or environmental chemicals. The newly emerging research on the val-ue of beneficial bacteria and healing a leaky gut are covered as well.”

To purchase Laura’s new book just go to Google Books which is selling the e-book at a much reduced price compared to the print.

How Sweet It Is! Your Child Will Like Xylitol! It’s Even Good for Him/Her!

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Many children with ADHD and/or autism behave better with a diet very low in sugar and corn syrup although studies challenging sugar in children with ADHD have had mixed results causing most professionals to conclude, “Sugar has nothing to do with ADHD!” Many parents would disagree!  However, none of the studies have tested the effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which could be more revealing.  If you want to see if your child reacts to sugar, you will find directions for this test in my book, Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child: Natural Solutions for Hard-to-Raise Children.

You may be saying, “There is no way to get my child off sugar!  He craves it!  He even licks his fingers then dips them in the sugar canister.  Then licks off the sugar.  He has even stolen sugary treats in stores!  It was so embarrassing!”

Here’s something you can try to replace the sugar in his/her diet.  Start substituting xylitol, a safe, even beneficial sweetener for the regular sugar (sucrose) in his diet.  You may be 672-0001able to purchase it in your grocery store or you can buy it online.  I’ve been using Ideal for well over a year.  I think there are other brands too.  I like the taste–I sprinkle it on fresh berries, and it helps me eat blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries that are often a little sour.  Of course, those berries are nutritional winners for everyone so I eat them every day.  I even have baked with Cherry Crispxylitol.  I just made a delicious Cherry Crisp with natural dark sweet cherries, white whole wheat flour, butter, and xylitol for a friend in a nursing home (and for me!).

Xylitol is even thought to be good for you helping to grow beneficial bacteria in the gut. It also may help to prevent ear infections!!!  The research seems to be mixed on that but if you’re looking for a sugar and HFCS replacement, xylitol is the way to go!!  No, I don’t own any stock in xylitol companies, I just like to use it and want you to know about it!  Let me know how you get along and what your family thinks!


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