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We're excited to introduce our free ADHD meal planner to help with easy recipes and simple planning.
This ADHD-friendly meal plan and free printable is perfect for those struggling with decision-making, task initiation, and planning.
As adults with ADHD, we get it! That's why we created a meal planner hack designed to simplify your meals and simplify your life!
Keep reading to learn our system, then grab the free printable pdf at the bottom of this post.
Benefits of Meal Planning
Here are some benefits of our ADHD meal-planning system:
- Always Free: Our planner will remain free and easy to use.
- Balanced Nutrition: Adaptable meals for many diets and lifestyles.
- No Overwhelm: Our meal plan reduces meal prep and provides easy choices. This reduces anxiety and stress. We limit the number of recipes and ingredients to avoid decision fatigue and to help with our executive dysfunction.
- No Food Waste: Cook what you need; no more wasted food.
- Saves Time: Quick and uncomplicated recipes are perfect for dealing with time blindness.
- Saves Money: You can avoid last-minute takeout or fast food by planning your meals.
- Less Mess: One-pot recipes keep your kitchen cleaner and your mind clear.
- Keeps You Cooking: Forget about giving up - our approach makes cooking enjoyable and sustainable.
Our Meal Planning Hack
The key to our ADHD meal planner is simplicity-- simple meals, simple flavor combinations, and limited choices.
We recommend dividing your recipe ingredients into 5 categories:
- Base- like rice or quinoa, or a pizza crust or salad
- Protein- like grilled chicken, egg, or tofu
- Produce- like cherry tomatoes, frozen broccoli, or apples
- Sauce- premade delicious sauces like Teriyaki sauce or refrigerated Pesto (find the sauces you love, and stick to them!)
- Toppings - shredded cheese, slivered almonds, sour cream, and more
This method reduces the number of decisions you need to make and allows for easy substitutions based on your preferences or what you have on hand.
You can always substitute with similar ingredients and still have a delicious meal.
The Free Printable ADHD Planner
Here's what you'll find in our free planners and how to use them.
Weekly Meal Plans
The first page of our free ADHD Meal Planner printable lets you write out your Weekly Meals.
This page looks like most other meal plan printables on the web, but you'll use the other resources we've provided to fill it in. You can print several and think ahead for the upcoming weeks.
The next page is the Grocery List divided into the categories that we described above:
Planning ahead for your trip to the grocery store (or your online ordering on your preferred grocery app) will save time and money.
Page Three of the meal plan is a blank Meal Ideas template. Print multiple of these.
On each page, you'll start by filling in a flavor combination or type of cuisine, like Pesto, Barbeque, Greek, Asian, Mexican, etc.
The last page lets you list out meal flavor ideas. You can do this first, and then create a list of recipes for each flavor type (page 3) when you have more time.
You can be as vague or specific as you'd like with these. Other examples would be:
- Green Chicken Chile
The point is to provide a list of quick meals that you can make from the same simple ingredients.
Meal Ideas Sheets
Our second free printable pdf includes 5 pages of meal examples, plus the empty template so that you can fill it in with your own easy recipes. Think of these as your Master List of recipe ideas for the ADHD brain.
Once you have your list of items, it will be easier to visualize what meals you can make with the same ingredients.
If you love to cook, then feel free to adjust the complexity levels of the recipes! But our example meals start with flavor combinations that have minimal prep and are mostly tossing a variety of ingredients together.
Embracing Shortcuts in Meal Prep
Shortcuts and prepackaged food can be looked down upon in the culinary world. But when it comes to ADHD meal prep, shortcuts are absolute lifesavers for us.
In ADHD-friendly meal planning, shortcuts are about creating a sustainable, stress-free approach to eating well that supports both mental and physical health.
What matters is getting food on our plates and enjoying the process along the way. Here's why we use recipe shortcuts:
You can tweak recipes to your liking. If you want to add more fresh ingredients or make some components from scratch, you can.
Want to add fresh basil to that store-bought pesto? Go ahead! Prefer to mash up your own avocado for guacamole? Sounds delicious!
But when you need to save time or energy, the pre-made stuff works just as well.
One of the biggest struggles for ADHDers (especially ADHD moms at dinner time) is time management. How many of you have realized you need food on the table now and should have started 30 minutes ago?!
Using time-saving options such as microwaveable rice or pre-washed vegetables speeds up the meal preparation process and reduces the mental energy required.
Simple beginner-friendly recipes will save you so much time.
Don't have time to cook a whole chicken? Pick up a delicious rotisserie chicken from the store!
Shortcuts reduce stress and decision fatigue, letting us focus on the fun parts of cooking.
A well-balanced diet is important for mental health, and we go more into that in the section below. But despite what some might think, using ready-made products doesn't necessarily mean compromising nutrition.
Many products like ready-made pesto or frozen vegetables are made with whole, natural ingredients.
Using convenient, healthy shortcuts is a practical way to ensure a balanced diet when time is tight.1Is it okay to eat processed foods?-Gundersen Health System
We're ensuring we're fed relatively healthy meals without stress or time pressure. It's perfectly okay to lean on these shortcuts.
Ultimately, meal prep with ADHD is about being kind to ourselves. Our tool aims to make this transition easier for you, offering a host of easy meals to pick from.
Navigating ADHD Nutrition
A healthy diet plays a big role in a treatment plan for managing ADHD symptoms. That's why our meal plan features healthy foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Let's delve into this a bit more:
These are your body's must-haves. Proteins for energy levels, healthy fats for brain health, whole grains for steady blood sugar, and fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals.
And those leafy greens? They're nutrient powerhouses.
While not a magic fix, some people find supplements helpful for gut health and ADHD treatment.
Some of those supplements include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B (more specifically, methylated vitamins)
- L-theanine (you can get this in green tea)
- Probiotics and Prebiotics.
As with any health decision, always discuss supplements with your doctor before starting them.
The ADHD Diet
There's a lot of chatter about specific 'ADHD diets' out there. It focuses on eating balanced meals with lots of whole foods, fresh veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats.2ADHD Diet and Nutrition: Foods To Eat & Foods to Avoid
Some ADHD diets suggest avoiding foods that might trigger symptoms. This could include food colorings and preservatives found in some processed and junk foods.
Other diets recommend limiting potential allergens or sensitivity-inducing foods like gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye) or dairy products.
Listen to your body, as everyone will be different. If you notice dairy sends you into a brain fog or gluten makes you sluggish, you can try an elimination diet to help determine if you have any food sensitivities.
Adjust your ADHD meal plan to avoid these food items. And remember to always check with a healthcare provider when changing your diet plan.
Frozen is Your Friend
And guess what? As we mentioned in the section above, you are absolutely allowed shortcuts. Frozen fruits and veggies are still packed with nutrients, and they won't go bad in your fridge.35 Healthy Reasons This Nutritionist Buys Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Having a few balanced frozen meals stashed away for busy days is also a smart move.
While this ADHD meal planner is made for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it can also ease stress and save time for parents of ADHD children and other stressed-out individuals!
It's all about providing a smooth, simple recipe experience. We hope it makes meal prep easier and less stressful for your ADHD brain.
Let us know what you think in the comments section below, and click here to submit your favorite recipes, meals, and flavor combinations. If we can, we'll add them to our list to help out other ADHD adults!
Scroll down to get the free printable ADHD meal plans!
🖨️ Follow the directions below to easily download the free pdf(s).
*Free printables by Honestly ADHD are for personal, non-commercial use only. See our FAQ page for more details.*
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