There are items in the every day diet that contribute to low attention spans, and an inability to focus. This makes it more difficult for parents and children alike to plunge into tasks that are more challenging.

The three most problematic items include:

1)      Sugar both natural and artificial.  Sugar has quite a few names so label reading is important. Sugar and its siblings can be labeled as: Sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, brown rice syrup, sorbitol, splenda, sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and NutraSweet. Whew that’s quite a lot. Sugar elevates blood sugars and brain chemicals and then drops them down very low once it wears off leading to sugar cravings and inconsistent energy mood and focus.

 Solution: Scan all labels for sugar ingredients look at the amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, protein and sugars on the label. Choose foods with lower carbohydrates and sugars and higher protein and fiber. For meals choose foods that are less processed and are closer to nature. Avoiding fruit juices and candies outright will directly affect moods, behavior, and concentration. If your child is acting out maybe they are having a blood sugar low, consider giving them a healthy snack.

2)      Simple carbohydrates. These convert to sugar very quickly are appetite stimulating, and contribute to blood sugar instabilities. (Bleached white bread, rice, pasta, crackers, cookies, baked goods, flour tortillas, and most snack foods)

Solution: Balance all snacks with a protein or fat. Crackers should be paired with no-sugar peanut butter or better yet, have an apple sliced with peanut butter instead. Offer mashed avocado and black beans with crackers, or string cheese and a piece of fruit.

3)      Inflammatory fats. These are known as omega -6 fatty acids. The developing and the aging brain require omega-3 fatty acids for optimal performance and nourishment. Omega three fats come from foods such as wild caught fish, eggs, quinoa, walnuts, avocado, and coconut oil.

Solution: Avoid processed, fast and fried foods, which tend to be high in omega 6 fats. Pay attention to the fats your child is eating through the day are they more on the omega 3 or 6 side? Then make some adjustments to your pantry and stock the good stuff.


Phoenix based physician, Dr. Andrea Purcell has a specialty practice for hormone balancing, weight loss, and gastro-intestinal concerns. She has just published her latest book, Feed Your Cells! A cooking guide to nutritious gluten- free eating. Dr. Purcell has identified inflammation as the cause of the majority of diseases. Throughout the book she provides simple instructions on how to choose food to decrease inflammation and promote healing. Dr. Purcell assists her patients by identifying the underlying cause of disease and removing obstacles that impede the body’s natural ability to heal. She believes that increasing health on the inside shines through to the outside. Visit for more info.