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As someone with ADHD, I know firsthand how difficult meal planning can be. The executive function required to decide what to eat, make a grocery list, and prepare meals can feel overwhelming. However, over time, I’ve developed systems that make the process much simpler and stress-free.
Today, I’ll walk you through my approach to meal planning with ADHD, from deciding what’s most important to creating a system that works for you.
When it Comes to Meal Planning – Decide What’s Most Important
The first step in ADHD-friendly meal planning is to decide what’s most important. Do you prioritize convenience, cost, or dietary restrictions? Depending on your answer, you’ll be looking for different things in the grocery store. For example, if cost is most important, you’ll want to do more food preparation yourself and buy fewer convenience items. If dietary restrictions are a top priority, you’ll need to consider those when planning your meals.
Evaluate What’s Working and What’s Not
Once you’ve decided what’s most important, take a look at your current meal planning process. What’s working well, and what’s not? Are there meals that everyone in your family enjoys? Do you have a good system for breakfast and lunch? What needs improvement? Make note of what’s working and what’s not, so you can create a plan that builds on your successes and eliminates your challenges.
Be Honest with Your Skillset and Desire to Change Your Current ADHD Meal Planning Process
It’s important to be honest with yourself about your cooking skills and desire to change. If you don’t enjoy cooking, you can still create a great meal plan using prepped food that requires minimal interaction. On the other hand, if you’re interested in improving your cooking skills, there are plenty of resources available, such as YouTube channels with recipes that match your skill level and food preferences.
Record Your Rotational Favorites
Make a list of all the meals that your family loves, along with the themes that make them so well-liked. This will help you identify patterns in your meal planning and expand your repertoire of recipes.
Create an ADHD-Friendly Meal Planning System That Works for You
Armed with the information from the previous steps, you can create a meal planning system that works for you. There are three main ways to plan meals: by individual meal, by macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat), or by inventory (using up what you have on hand). Choose the system that works best for you, and use a planning tool, such as a weekly planner, to keep track of your meals.
Make Grocery Shopping a Breeze
Finally, make grocery shopping as easy as possible. Consider using online shopping and curbside pickup to avoid impulse purchases and save time. If your grocery store offers prepared foods, take advantage of those to save even more time and reduce food waste.
Meal planning with ADHD can be a challenge, but with the right systems in place, it’s possible to make it simple and stress-free. By deciding what’s most important, evaluating what’s working, being honest about your skillset and desire to change, recording your rotational favorites, and creating a system that works for you, you can take control of your meal planning and make it a no-brainer process.