Besides the protests that are sure to come when your child is forbidden his or her favorite foods, one of the biggest obstacles involved in implementing an ADHD diet is coming up with meals and food items allowed by the diet. Before the diet, buying groceries was a whole lot easier – just toss in the most affordable items that fit your regular food budget. Now doing the groceries takes longer, because you have to inspect the ingredients label of each food and make sure it doesn’t contain gluten, casein, or artificial additives. Preparing meals will take longer, too, since instant, processed foods are definitely off the menu. But besides time, the biggest worry parents have about ADHD diets is the misconception that nutritious foods will cost them more. Will they? Try out these tips on how to follow an ADHD diet on a budget from parents who have been there.
Create a meal plan at the start of each week
Creating a weekly meal plan will prevent you from wasting money buying ingredients you won’t use. Make your meal plan before you do the shopping so you’ll know how much of which ingredients you’ll need for the week. To make lunch and dinner just as enjoyable as before, involve the kids in planning the meals. Don’t forget to bring your meal plan to the supermarket!
Find ADHD-friendly recipes online
A quick visit to a bookstore yields many recipe books and how-to guides for ADHD diets like the Feingold Diet, the gluten-free, casein-free diet, rotation diets, Sara’s diet, and the RPAH Elimination Diet. But why spend $20 or more on a book when you can search for recipes online? Search engines can yield pages and pages of free recipes you can try. Parents of ADHD children also participate in communities, message boards, and mailing lists; they’ll be more than happy to share tried-and-tested recipes as well as helpful hints. It’s all just a matter of finding them.
Do-it-yourself fast food
Most parents don’t have the time to prepare meals from scratch. Fortunately, there are specialty online stores that offers ADHD-friendly instant meals, snacks, and mixes. However each one of these cost between $8-$10, and if you’re reading this article, you probably don’t want to spend that much on a meal every day! But who says fast food can’t be made of organic produce and healthy ingredients? Make your own pre-cooked meals by preparing two batches and freezing the second batch in small servings. If your child needs a quick meal or snack, just grab one serving from the fridge, heat it up, and go. You can also chop up vegetables and prepare other ingredients ahead of time, then throw them together on a busy night.
Support your local farmers
Supermarket chains and grocery stores get their produce from farmers at low prices, and then mark it up for a profit. But why buy from the middleman when you can go straight to the source? For fruits and vegetables, shop at the local farmer’s market instead. Not only are their prices considerably lower; the produce is fresher than the supermarket variety, too.