This is the final post in a series. These posts are excerpts from the  July “Child Care Support Network”  CE training for daycare providers. For more information, check out the “CCSN” link at www.impact-publications.com. See also the archives section of this blog.

The following are ways to assist children who may be consuming too many artificial food substances:

* Encourage healthy breakfasts. Giving children a breakfast with fiber (oatmeal, shredded wheat, berries, bananas, whole-grain pancakes, etc.) instead of loads of refined sugar should keep adrenaline levels more constant and make the school day more enjoyable.

* Limit candy. Sucking on candy is another way that kids can extend exposure to sugar, which harms teeth as well as other health concerns. Limit sweets and the time it takes for kids to consume them, and make sure children brush afterward.

* Fill sippy cups with water whenever possible. Children shouldn’t sip on sugary drinks or munch on sugary foods for extended periods of time. If you give children beverages other than water, be sure to limit consumption time. Take away the cup after a reasonable amount of time.

* Become more knowledgeable about food additives and preservatives. There are thousands of substances added to various foods for the purposes of coloring, flavoring, and preserving. Food additives include the following groups:

* Food dyes and colorings (such as tartrazine, annatto and carmine);

* Antioxidants (such as BHA and BHT);

* Emulsifiers and stabilizers (such as gums and lecithin);

* Flavorings and taste enhancers (such as MSG, spices, and sweeteners); and

* Preservatives (such as benzoates, nitrates, and sulfites).

(The FDA – at www.fda.gov  – maintains a list of all of the food additives currently used in the U.S.)

* Note that food sensitivities may produce symptoms that mimic signs of ADHD. These include hyperactivity and the inability to focus. When “trigger foods” are eliminated, symptoms decrease substantially.

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