Does ADHD ever prevent you from making a well-balanced meal? Does the stress of meal planning make for more arguments rather than a better shopping list? Sometimes, the planning, organizing, and decision-making are enough to make you order carryout for the third night in a row! Just because you have ADHD does not mean that your meals have to be the same thing over and over or even unhealthy. Putting together a meal plan can be a simple, and even an enjoyable task.
Here are a few tips and ideas that can save dinner from being a disaster:
The Recipe Box
Here at Orchid, we know how difficult it can be to create a good, healthy main dish. So, we developed The ADHD Recipe Box. This 5-item, 6-step box contains 18 recipes for all protein groups and blank cards for you to add your own recipes. The idea is that the card cues you to check your pantry or fridge for ingredients, mark them off, and assign the day at the top. The back has the step-by-step instruction for preparation. Then, go ahead and add a side vegetable of your choice, or whatever is in the icebox! You can then bring the cards with you because they also double as your grocery list!
The Meal Matrix
Another concept we have developed at Orchid is the Meal Matrix. Especially when you have a picky eater or kids that can’t agree on anything, the Meal Matrix is for you. As a family or individual, decide what falls under each heading. Here’s our example:
|Ground beef||Bread||Broccoli||Curry (Indian)|
|Pork||Pasta||Brussels Sprouts||Salsa (Mexican)|
|Tofu/beans||Potato||Cauliflower||Butter and Garlic|
Also, there are “Free” spaces for spontaneity or carryout. Most stores have sauces already in a jar so this makes it easy to plan. Then, pick one from each column and you have your meals planned for the week! There are so many combinations to make; you’ll rarely have the same meal twice. For families with little kids, make the words into pictures and make a picture menu!
Make it a Double
If you are already in the kitchen doing prep work, make it double! If a recipe calls for chopped onions or veggies, cut enough for another meal and freeze some. This makes shopping and prep for another meal talk less time. Make sure you write the item and date on the outside of the bag.
Great Apps for All
For the technological savvy ADHDer, there are plenty of apps out there. Some of the more popular ones are:
- Out of Milk
- You can manage your shopping lists quickly and easily. Add items to your list and keep track of whether or not you have put them in your basket.
- Any List
- AnyList suggests common items as you type, and automatically groups items by category to help save time at the store. Stay in sync with family and friends by sharing a list with them. Any changes made to a shared list will show up instantly to everyone sharing the list. You can add to your list with Siri!
- List Ease
- Type or scan barcodes to build your pantry and grocery lists and move items between lists or check them off with one tap. There are coupons on the app but you have to print them out before shopping.
Meal planning and cooking don’t have to be overwhelming. Try out some of these ideas for yourself or come by and let’s plan out a menu that works for your family.