Meal prep can be hard when you have ADHD. Here are 5 hacks that worked for me.

Meal prep can be hard when you have ADHD. Here are 5 hacks that worked for me.
  • As someone with ADHD, meal prepping and healthy snacking can be difficult.

  • I tried 5 different TikTok ADHD friendly hacks to make meal prepping easier.

  • They all helped me eat healthier and feel less overwhelmed, but the simplest hacks were the best.

As someone who has ADHD, one source of my woes is mealtime.

Making decisions about food, and finding the energy to actually prep meals is something I often find daunting and overwhelming. It's also very easy to drink caffeine, take Adderall (which can suppress appetite), and forget to eat all day long. I know this habit isn't healthy, and it's one I'm looking to break — permanently.

Fortunately, TikTok users might have a trick or two up their sleeves for making meal prep and eating healthy easier for the decision averse and easily overwhelmed, like myself.

I selected a five hacks that seemed manageable, and gave them a go for a week. Here's how it went.

Rearrange the fridge

Kate Hull's fridge before (left), produce is in the crisper drawer, condiments are in the door shelves, and everything else is everywhere. Kate Hull's fridge after (right), produce is now in the fridge door, and condiments are in the crisper drawer.
I rearranged my fridge so that produce was easily visible in the doors, and condiments were hidden in the crisper drawer. Kate Hull

This was the first hack I came across on TikTok, and one that I've been interested in trying for months.

In a video that's now been viewed over 6.4 million times, user @domesticblisters recommends moving all of your produce out of your crisper drawers and into the door. Then using crisper drawers for non-perishable items, like condiments.

People who have ADHD, like me, can struggle to be organized and are susceptible to losing things. If I don't need ketchup for months on end, that's all well and good. But if I forget about the cilantro I bought for months? I'll eventually discover a nasty pile of sludge in the bottom of a drawer. This hack keeps everything that expires quickly front and center.

I wasn't sure how well this system would work for my fridge — the fridge doors are short and shallow — but the reorganization was refreshing. Being able to see all the produce did, in fact, make it easier to keep track of what my partner and I needed to use.

This switch took the most effort on my part (and was unsurprisingly the one I procrastinated on the longest), but I'm pleased with the results.

Add a straw to your water bottle

Kate Hull's purple wide-mouth Nalgene bottle, with a green-tipped reusable straw.
My favorite water bottle with my reusable straw. Kate Hull

This popular tip is not new to me — I've kept a straw in my water bottle for years now, and I firmly stand by the advice.

In a video, registered dietician Kylie Sakaida said that she has a harder time maintaining healthy habits than starting them. Sakaida also has ADHD — and her experience with the disorder was part of the inspiration behind her "realistic nutrition tips" series.

People with ADHD can struggle with follow through, reports ADDItude Magazine, which can make it difficult to maintain new healthy habits. Drinking enough water is also especially important if you take Adderall, which can lead to dry mouth.

Adding a straw worked like a charm for me, and I've found I drink much more water when I can mindlessly sip (others on Reddit have also hailed the straw as life changing for ADHD).

While you can purchase a water bottle that contains a straw, my go-to is actually just a regular Nalgene wide-mouth water bottle with a reusable steel Klean Kanteen straw. I have several reusable straws, so I can easily swap them out if one needs cleaning.

Batch meal prep breakfast foods

Two Tupperware of overnight oats on the upper shelf of the fridge.
Two days of overnight oats ready to go.Kate Hull

Another trick recommended by Sakaida in her "realistic nutrition tips" series is batch prepping breakfast.

In a separate video, she explains "when you have kids, or a busy life, chronic illness, or executive dysfunction, the best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to prepare ahead of time when you do have the capacity to take on extra tasks."

I'm a big overnight oats girl, and have been since college. I decided to adapt this hack to become my go-to breakfast, and batch prepare enough for 2 to 3 servings.

Batch prepping overnight oats takes nearly the same amount of effort as preparing one bowl, and suddenly I had breakfast covered for a few days. I didn't expect this hack to make a huge difference, but now I'm baffled as to why I haven't been doing this all along.

Pre-make veggie trays for your afternoon snack

Tupperware of ready-to-eat veggies, including carrots, snap peas and yellow bell pepper, next to tzatziki and pretzel crisps.
A Tupperware of pre-cut and washed veggies, with delicious tzatziki and pretzels on the side. Kate Hull

This hack was probably one of my favorites. I'm a huge fan of snacks, but often find myself reaching for sweets during the week when I'm in need of a quick pick-me-up.

I didn't have a tray like Sakaida, but I did have a large Tupperware, and figured that would do. After coming home from the grocery store, I emptied bags of carrots and snap peas into the Tupperware, and sliced up some bell peppers as well.

Cutting up and dumping a few different vegetables into a Tupperware took less than 10 minutes, but has made a world of difference in my snacking. Although I still love sweets, it was very easy to supplement a cookie with some carrots or a few slices of bell pepper. I also had veggies ready to go if I was heading out somewhere.

Designate a snack corner

Kate Hull's fridge "snack corner," complete with yogurt, hummus, cheese sticks, and Tupperware filled with pre-cut fruit and veggies.
The new designated snack section.Kate Hull

One tip recommended by Karley Alex, who goes by @the_adhd_nutritionist on TikTok, is creating a snack section in the fridge. Alex says that keeping a bin of pre-made food can be helpful for those with executive dysfunction, a symptom many folks with ADHD have that can make it difficult to do things like start a task or focus, according to Cleveland Clinic.

I didn't have a bin available that would fit my snacks, so I opted for creating a "snack corner" in my fridge and in my cabinet.

It definitely was nice not to rummage through my fridge for a snack, and it made grocery shopping a lot easier because I knew exactly what I had on hand.

Read the original article on Insider