Meal planning is a great way to ensure that you eat healthily, and get this: it doesn’t have to be hard! That’s right, despite how overwhelmed many of us become when we think of planning meals for an entire week, meal planning can save you time and money.

Research has shown that children diagnosed with ADHD are prone to skipping meals, yet paradoxically, they may eat more frequently – over five times a day – compared to their peers without this condition. These findings suggest that implementing a structured meal plan could be a valuable strategy for ensuring these children receive the balanced nutrition they need throughout the day.

Without being prepared, it is easy to end up eating something on the go, like pastries, fast food, or prepared meals. The problem with this is that often grab-and-go options are not the most healthy, and we end up spending a lot of extra money that could be saved by being better prepared.

Some meal prepping benefits include:

  • More Free Time
  • A Smaller Food Bill
  • Healthier Variety
  • Weight Management
  • A Sharper Mind
  • Improved ADHD Symptoms

Yes, that’s right! Meal-planning can actually affect ADHD symptoms in your children. Here’s how.

How Meal-Planning Can Improve ADHD Symptoms:
Understanding the link between nutrition and ADHD is important, especially when trying to naturally reduce symptoms.

Research consistently shows that what children eat can significantly influence their behavior, focus, and overall cognitive function.

A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and complex carbohydrates can serve as a cornerstone in managing ADHD symptoms. These foods support optimal brain function, aiding neurotransmitter activity and stabilizing mood and energy levels.

On the flip side, diets that are full of highly inflammatory foods (like gluten, dairy, soy, artificial additives, and sugars) have been shown to exacerbate symptoms of ADHD, leading to spikes and crashes in energy and focus.

For this reason, proper nutrition is one of the foundational pieces of a holistic approach to managing ADHD symptoms in children, and meal planning can make it easier to eat these healthy foods and bypass the unhealthy ones.

There’s a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

Meal planning is one important step families can take in their journey to naturally support their kids with ADHD that can often prove to be one of the keys to their success.

Tailoring Meal Plans for ADHD:
Tailoring meal plans for children with ADHD is not just a matter of what to avoid, but just as important, what to include for optimal health and symptom management.

As mentioned above, you want to avoid the following foods: gluten, dairy, soy, artificial flavors and colors, and excessive amounts of sugar. For more information on how to get started, view this post.

A well-considered meal plan should incorporate nutrients that specifically support brain function and emotional well-being. You want to eat a diet rich in whole foods, grass-fed animal protein, wild-caught fish, and plenty of healthy fats. Where possible, avoid over processed and packaged goods.

Vitamins and minerals like B-vitamins, zinc, and magnesium also play a vital role; deficiencies in these nutrients have been linked to exacerbations in ADHD symptoms. When planning meals, it’s important to keep these key nutrients in mind making sure they’re consistently integrated into your child’s diet. The best way to do this is to provide a wide variety of foods that are from all colors of the rainbow.

The trick to successful meal planning is, of course, all in the preparation. Follow these steps to get started:

Meal Planning Step 1 – Pick a Day
When meal prepping, you want to start by choosing a day that works best for you where you will have a good couple hours to plan, prep, and prepare your food. Sunday is often a good day for this because it gets you ready for the week with a fresh menu.

Meal Planning Step 2 – Prepare
Next, you will want to get prepped by getting your food containers ready for each day and clearing out space in the refrigerator for your week of meals.

Meal Planning Step 3 – Create a Plan/Shop
Meal planning is about prepping food in bulk to eat throughout the week, so you will want to choose foods with lasting power, so no light greens or foods that are likely to lose their integrity after a few days. You are preparing meals for 5 days, so think balanced. You want a protein, a healthy starch and fat, and a bunch of veggies.

Meal Planning Step 4 – Get to Work
Time to get going! Because you are prepared, prep should be easy.

ADHD Meal Planning and Prep Expert: Tips & Tricks

Involving Your Kids in the Meal Planning Process:

Involving your children in the meal planning and preparation process can significantly increase their interest in consuming healthy foods, without picky eating.

When kids take part in creating their meals, they develop a sense of ownership and are more likely to eat what they’ve helped make.

To engage them, you can start by letting them choose recipes that include ADHD-friendly ingredients. This way, they feel heard and you still adhere to the dietary guidelines that benefit them.

Taking them grocery shopping can also be an educational experience. It provides an opportunity to teach them how to read food labels and make nutritious choices.

Letting them assist in the meal prep—whether it’s washing vegetables, stirring a mixture, or even setting the table—gives them hands-on experience and a sense of contribution.

These collaborative practices not only promote healthy eating but also offer valuable life skills and quality time spent together.

Here are some great ideas for your meal planning:

Breakfast – Overnight Oats (prepare the night before)

  • Fill 5 jars each with ½ gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or powdered flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Collagen powder
  • Enough almond milk to cover your mixture
    *Optional – 2 tablespoons of apple sauce, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, or coconut flakes.

Lunch – Turkey Taco Bowl

  • Sautéd 2 lbs of organic ground turkey
  • 1 packet of gluten-free taco seasoning (or make your own)
  • Roasted peppers and onions
  • Rinsed black beans
  • Salsa of your choice

Add in each ¼ cup black beans, ½ cup prepared ground turkey, salsa, roasted peppers and onions to each of your five containers

Dinner – Marinated Chicken Breasts

  • Mix together 1 tablespoon Dijon, ¼ cup balsamic, ¼ cup olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary, garlic and a hint of sea salt into a bowl.
  • Place 5 chicken breasts in a glass container and coat with the marinade.
  • Marinate chicken for 1 hour.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

Prepare sides, such as sweet potatoes, roasted carrots, or mashed potatoes to include with your meal.

Snacks – Smoothie

Put each smoothie combo in a separate freezer bag or container and freeze until you are ready to enjoy.

Simply add water, coconut water, or your favorite dairy free milk – blend and enjoy!

 

Sources:
https://nutritiouslife.com/stress-less/meal-prepping-made-easy/

https://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/

NB: And as always, I am not a medical doctor and the above post is based on my experience. No information on this site should be relied upon to make a medical diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease or medical condition. 


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And as always, I am not a medical doctor and the above post is based on my experience. No information on this site should be relied upon to make a medical diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease or medical condition.