Meal Planning for an ADHD Mom

meal planning for an adhd mom

Meal planning for an ADHD mom is what I would call a, “situation.”  I get emails about meal planning more than anything else.

For ADHD moms, it’s tough to balance healthy eating, planning ahead, and then listening to a houseful of picky eaters complain.

If you’ve ever spent hours prepping and preparing a new recipe only to have your family complain, OR if you’ve attempted to lower your own stress by serving leftovers and listened to the whining, you know exactly what I mean.

So I brought in a holistic health coach friend of mine, Anna Rubano, to talk about all of this as well as the role of gut health in managing ADHD. Feel free to listen if you don’t wish to read.

[buzzsprout episode=’4133162′ player=’true’]

ADHD meal plan

In this episode you will hear:

  • Anna’s personal history with ADHD
  • How ADHD shows up in her life
  • What led her to become a holistic health coach
  • The underrated, but VERY important, impact of diet on your functioning with or without ADHD
  • Why we need to lose the guilt about pleasing everyone in our house
  • Keeping it simple when meal planning for both you and your family


As promised I will try to explain my basic meal-planning philosophy below.

1. Ask them what they want to eat

Every single week in my house I ask my husband and child what they are hungry for. They are fully aware that if they don’t offer any suggestions they will have to eat whatever I want to eat. So they usually offer up something.

If they are hungry for something that isn’t particularly healthy, I still write it down and then look for ways to make it healthier. For example, my son LOVES frozen pizza. So I often substitute cauliflower pizza and he doesn’t know the difference.

2. stock your pantry

I’ve written about this before, so check out that old post.  

In the meantime, make a list of the foods your family eats every day. Things like breakfast cereal, eggs, milk, yogurt, and goldfish. Whatever the foods are that you know you must keep on hand. Include the foods that YOU want to eat in this list.

I find that many ADHD moms want to eat healthier, but they have trouble planning ahead for meals that satisfy their needs and the demands of their families.

While you’re at it make a list of go-to meals that they always enjoy. In my house this includes tacos, lasagna, chicken tenderloins, and my mother-in-law’s meatloaf. This list of favorite meals will save your butt when you are feeling unmotivated to come up with ideas.

3. Don’t cook every day

Unless you really like to cook, I wouldn’t recommend coming home from work and trying to prepare a full meal each day. I also don’t enjoy spending all day Sunday on meal prep, so I choose recipes that require less than 10 ingredients.

For me, it makes the most sense to cook on Sunday evening. I will often double or make a large batch of whatever it is, so that I can pull it out throughout the week.

For example, I will make two pounds of shredded plain chicken breast. Then I will package it and allow my family to decide how they are eating it. Plain, with barbecue sauce, or as tacos.

I will often cook a second meal on Monday. For the rest of the week at each meal I will ask, “Do you want A, or B.” My son and my husband tend to alternate between the two options without complaint.

If somebody voices complaint, and they are over the age of 5, limit their options.

When my son complains he is aware that his options are: 1) pbj sandwich on whole grain, or 2) greek yogurt with fruit.

4. Shop with a list

If you know the pantry staples your family requires, all you have to do is check on your supply each week. Pick 2-3 meals to cook, and then make a list of what you need to make those meals.

If you need some extra veggies for snacking, or lunchbox items add those as well.

Never, ever shop without a list or when you are hungry. Not only will you buy unhealthy items, but ultimately you will spend more money than you want to.

5. Give yourself some grace

I always think it’s strange when people feel obligated to please everyone in their house.

If everyone is eating, why are you the only one feeling stressed?

Much of the time ADHD women are people pleasers and want to make everyone happy. So we fail to create appropriate boundaries. And YES you need boundaries, even with your children and spouse.

Sometimes we need to let go of control for a while in order to get more control later.

If you want to live as a vegan and your family is pushing back – tell them that you are changing your lifestyle and they are going to have to come along OR start fending for themselves for a while. (the exception to this would be very small children)

Look around your house. Chances are, even if you did nothing for a week, your family would not starve. They might eat a bunch of crap.

Could you let that go for one week just to prove a point?

I know my meal planning philosophy is not for everyone. But what I really want is for ADHD moms and women to feel more empowered and less ashamed.

I’m so tired of all of us carrying the weight of everything on our shoulders.

Meal planning for ADHD moms is never going to be easy. But it can be simple, if you allow it to be.

come hang out in the Enclave

and talk to other ADHD moms just like you!


Link to Anna Rubano’s website and coaching services

Affiliate link, see my full disclosure – Our Transformative Journey Book

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