Food shopping, cooking, prep & my fridge!

So… I’ve noticed that many people with organizational issues (with or without ADHD) struggle with the daily or weekly grind of buying the right food, planning meals, and executing them.  I have a bunch of strategies around this topic and though I’d share them with y’all.  Many of them were born of my experience running professional kitchens, but are all super-helpful and super-relevant at home too.

Food Shopping:

  • The first point is that you need to have some sort of regularly scheduled time that you do the weekly shopping.  It needs to be a time that everyone in the household knows about.  (Read: deadline to get what you want!)
  • Keep a magnetized list on the fridge that is big enough to hold your whole weeks shopping list on one page.
  • Keep a pen (that writes on vertical surfaces) in top of the fridge or right next to the list.
  • Write things on the list when you realize you aren’t going to have enough to get through the current week and the next week.  (NOT WHEN THE BOX IS EMPTY!)
  • If you go to two different stores like we do, use two pages of the list.
  • Make the list in sections.  For example, produce at the top, frozen food at the bottom.  
  • Even try making it in the order of the isles if you know the store well.  (This really helps with our not-so-great working memory.  It’s nice to go down the list in order.)
  • Have a powwow before the night before or morning of going to the store.  Move round the kitchen or house in a a specific order looking for visual clues of things that might have been forgotten.
  • While making the list decide on lunches and dinners for the week, and buy the right food.
  • Don’t go shopping when you are super-hungry.
  • Unless you have 3 teenage football players, avoid Costco, etc.  No one needs that many artichokes—I promise you!
  • Try to only buy what you are going to eat in a week to 10 days.  (I’ll post a pic of my fridge on Friday morning, if I can figure out how.  We go shopping Saturday morning.)  This is more or less what your fridge should look like when you go shopping.
  • My picture brings up another great point.  As you can see, something spilled in the fridge this week.  By really cleaning out the food every week, it is super easy to clean up real quick, make sure the older stuff gets used first and nothing rots in the back corner.
  • Don’t fall in to the “infinite possibilities” land of delusion.  You don’t need 4 different kinds of jelly to choose from every morning or 7 kinds of salad dressing.  I think you can commit to one for at least a week, if not how long it takes you to use the jar/bottle.  (This is the reason no one needs that many artichokes.  You will get sick of artichokes before you get half way through the jar!)
  • Get used to not buying anything that isn’t on the list.  Unless it is the thing that you eat everyday for breakfast, you know you are out, and you just forgot to put it on the list, avoid temptation.  If your’e not sure you have one at home, you probably do.  If it isn’t in your eating plan for the week, you don’t need it.
Food shopping seems to have been a longer post than I had expected.  More on cooking, meal planning, etc coming soon.

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