Why is meal planning so tough for people with ADHD? Consider what’s involved — decision-making, planning, prioritizing, navigating the aisles of a visually overwhelming supermarket-and it begins to make sense.
Meal planning for a family is an inherently ADHD-unfriendly task. By contrast, the creativity needed to pull together a last-minute meal with whatever’s on hand is ADHD-friendly (although meals created on the fly probably won’t cut it in the nutrition department night after night).
If the never-ending need to plan and prepare meals falls on your shoulders, try using this ADHD-friendly system. These easy meal planning will let you sail through the supermarket aisles and put dinner on the table in no time.
Hold a family meeting. Dinnertime is the perfect occasion. Ask family members for their favorite dinner menus. Although children’s preferences should be taken into account, think about the nutritional balance of each meal they suggest.
Create a “Top-10” dinner list. You’ll cook these meals over the course of two weeks, leaving two nights per week free from cooking to order in or eat out.
Write your dinner menus on individual index cards, listing all of the components as well as the ingredients for complex dishes.
Sort your meal cards with an eye to work-saving sequences. For example, if you grill chicken breasts on Monday night, make a few extra ones to slice up and toss into your chicken Caesar salad on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Have the index cards with you at all times. Keep them in your purse or wallet, paper-clipped into two groups of five, so you’ll be ready to shop whenever you have the time.
Take out your cards at the grocery store and, voila, you’ve got your meals planned and the bulk of your shopping list already written out.
The beauty of this system lies in its flexibility. It’s not just an ADHD-friendly meal system — it’s your ADHD-friendly meal system. Here are some easy ways to make it work for you:
As you implement the ADHD-friendly meal system, keep these simple strategies in mind:
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