Meal Planning

Meal Planning For ADHD

Meal planning is beneficial for eating balanced meals, less stress, reduced take out and reduced food waste (RIP to all the rotten veggies in the crisper). ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts an estimated 3-5% of adults. Meal planning for ADHD can be difficult because of the challenges often faced with organization, time management, feeling overwhelmed in the kitchen and with following recipes and kitchen tasks.

Eating regular and balanced meals can help to maintain energy and focus, regulate mood and result in less binging tendencies later in the day. However, without a plan in place it can be easy to skip meals or grab convenient options that may not be as nourishing.

When discussing meal planning, it is important to recognize that meal planning does not have to equal a strict, boring diet plan. Meal planning is creating a system for planning meals that works for you. 

3 Steps for Meal Planning For ADHD

  1. Start small. Think of the meal you struggle the most with. This may be a meal you skip, a meal that brings you stress, or a meal you struggle to have balanced. This is the meal you will start to plan weekly. You don’t have to plan out all 7 either- give yourself 2 days at least to wing it or have a take-out meal. Over-planning can be one of the reasons meal planning stresses people out. So, if supper time is chaotic for you, you can plan 4-5 easy supper ideas for the following week. See how this is less stressful than planning out 21 meals for the week?
  1. Simplify meal ideas. Brainstorm your favourite go-to meals, come up with easy meals by looking online or through your favourite cookbooks. You can also involve your family to get input and suggestions to help please everyone. Come up with at least 10-20 easy ideas and pull this sheet out each time you go to meal plan for the following week. Having this meal idea sheet handy will help you from drawing a blank when you go to meal plan. 

How can you simplify meal ideas?

  • The simplest meals can still be nutritious. Grilled cheese sandwich on whole grain bread with some baby carrots and cukes- yup that can work!
  • Don’t use more than 1 new recipe/idea each week. 
  • Take shortcuts. Think pre-cut veggies, bagged salads, rotisserie chicken, canned tuna.

3. Block the time weekly. Pick 10 minutes each week to block out for meal planning. This may include setting a date in your calendar so you don’t brush it off. This will help it become more routine.


The meal planning process can take trial and error to see what works and doesn’t work for you. Some weeks may not go as planned and that’s ok. Overtime, you will start to find your rhythm and benefit from having some planned meals each week. Oftentimes, we also have to unlearn what diet rules and misconceptions we may have when we think of eating balanced and nutritious meals.

Looking for Support for Meal Planning with ADHD?

I can help you overcome the roadblocks you are facing when it comes to navigating your health by working with you individually.

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