This might seem like a daunting task and people with ADHD tend to shy away from these. One easy way to break the job down into manageable chunks, is to start by developing a repertoire of options for each meal and another for snacks. You can then create your weekly meal plans from the repertoire. So here’s my steps to help you make a meal plan.
Create a repertoire of options for each meal
Have a look at the eat well tips from my previous post and list breakfast ideas that fit with the principles. Some people really do like having the same breakfast daily. If this is you, then that’s fine and this first task will be done super quickly. However, our taste buds can get bored and more variety usually means better nutrition. Try to come up with at least three different breakfast ideas. If you want more variety, go for it. Once you’ve done that you’ve got your breakfast “repertoire.”
Looking again at the principles from my previous post, think about meals you enjoy. If they don’t quite fit with the principles, then think about small changes you could make to improve them. It’s fine to have a meal that doesn’t fit with the principles once or twice a week. Some meals should simply be for fun. Aim to develop a repertoire of 7 different lunches. If you can’t do this, don’t worry, just do as many as you can. This is your lunch “repertoire.”
For most of us this is our main meal of the day, so it’s important to have as many different options as possible. I like to start with 10-14 ideas. If this is way more than you can think of then rather than getting overwhelmed with the choice on recipes websites or in recipe books get in touch with friends and family members and ask for recommendations. You could even invite people over and ask them to bring a dish that fits well with the principles outlined in my earlier post. This way you all get a chance to taste some new dishes and if you find something you like, get the recipe and add it to your repertoire.
Some people find that they hardly ever need a snack because they have been able to organise their meals to fit with times when they are naturally ready to eat. However most of us do need a small snack a couple of times a day. It’s easy to reach for crisps, biscuits and chocolate bars. That’s fine once or twice a week, unless these items tend to trigger a binge for you. However if you’re organised it’s easy to make positive snack choices that will benefit your health. The aim is to come up with ideas that provide fibre and protein as well as some vitamins and minerals. This will help you feel satisfied until your next meal.
Many people find this hard so here are some ideas to get you started:
1 oatcake spread with Quark or any very low fat soft cheese and a small apple
2 breadsticks and a tbsp. reduced fat hummus
Small apple or pear with a tsp nut butter
Boiled egg (keep some in the fridge) and a handful of nuts.
Small pot low fat yogurt with a handful of nuts, seeds and a few berries
2 rice cakes spread with a little low fat cream cheese or Quark, slice some strawberries over the top – it’s almost like a cheesecake
Small handful of dried fruit like apricots, dates or figs with a glass of skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
Small bag of Cheeky Peas (flavoured chick peas) or Brindisa Spanish Spicy Broad Beans Habas Picantes
From time to time it’s a good idea to refresh your repertoire, particularly if you tend to “go off” certain things that you used to love. Make a note on your calendar to do a “refresh” once a month or however often you think would work for you.
Make a weekly meal plan
Pick a day when you tend to have a bit more time and set a reminder in your diary or phone. Choose the day when you would normally do your main shop or finalise your online shopping for delivery the next day.
Now that you have a small repertoire of meal options that fit with the principles of eating well and reflect your likes and dislikes making the plan is so much easier. Most people plan in weekly cycles. If you have spare time you could do a 2 or even 3-week plan. Think carefully about what works for you. If you find that what you fancy changes frequently, it’s best to stick with 1 week plans or even plan for 3 or 4 days at a time.
When you’ve made the plan, take it to the kitchen and check what you’ve already got and make a note of what you need to buy. If there are things in your cupboards or fridge that are close to their use by date and you know could use for one of you meal options check that option is on the plan, early enough in the week.
If your kitchen is quite chaotic then this bit might take a little time. Look out for my next post, which is about organising your kitchen.
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