Meal Planning for ADHD Brains
This episode is on one of my favorite topics – meal planning for ADHD! You’ve heard me talk about the Instant Pot and intermittent fasting in the past … today I tell you how I dug really deep and cooked from scratch for a week. My secret to meal planning? No meal planning! If you like the sound of that, this might be THE episode for you. A special Thank You to Imperfect Foods (aff.) for supplying the food to produce this podcast!
- Why I got into cooking my own food in the first place.
- The case for produce delivery (and possibly meat or dairy too)
- My take on the Imperfect Foods experience
- My Top 3 meals from the experience
To give Imperfect Foods a try, use this link and save $10!
Stay in touch on all the socials at @adhdadulting and until next time Happy Adulting!
This is the adulting with ADHD podcast. Self-empowerment for women with ADHD. Today we’re going to talk about food prep. It’s a popular topic, um, based on my analytics and it’s something I love talking about. Um, as you guys know, I’m an intermittent faster, but I’m also someone who wants it to be as easy as possible. I just, I don’t want to mess with it. And um, I mentioned this in one of my previous episodes. Um, I used to be all Totonno’s all the time, just I had zero interest in health food. The more convenient the better. And then I had a baby and I had to nurse that baby and I didn’t want to put a bunch of crap in my body that was going to get passed on to her. And so I learned how to cook. And you’re thinking, how did you do that?
Um, so when I say I learned how to cook, I bought an instant pot and basically found every imaginable way to produce meals by just throwing something in a pot and walking away. And that’s really it. And I have made all kinds of elaborate dishes because of this. And that’s just been my thing. And even, um, friends and coworkers and, um, they just all know if you want to talk about the instant pot, come find me. And, um, I just think it’s a great tool for the ADHD year. And, um, I reached out to imperfect produce because I was very curious about their business model and how, um, they’re, they’re giving out all this produce that is ugly and nobody wants. And instead of throwing it away, they’re delivering it to people, uh, at a, at a budget price. And I, I love saving money, so I, um, they actually were gracious enough to send me a box to try out.
And so quick shout out to imperfect produce for doing that. And I wanted to spend this episode just talking about how I was able to use this very basic produce to create meals. Now I used to buy produce at the store that was, um, either in a steamer bag and the freezer aisle or freshly cleaned and cut in the grocery aisle. And yes, that was a big improvement from what I was doing before, which was eating out all the time. It was a baby step I guess you would say. But now I’m, I’m going next level guys, I’m going next level thanks to imperfect produce and I’m actually just like getting the produce straight up from the produce section. Like it’s not clean or cut or anything. And, and you know, there was a time when I thought, you know, Sarah, that sounds like a lot of work, but um, I’m gonna walk you through what I did.
And so, um, I got my box and I, I’m going to have pictures in the, there’s going to be a blog post, um, adhd.com/food and you can see all the different things, but basically, um, each week they have um, stuff that they, depending on what plan you pick, they put a bunch of food in your basket and then you have the option to swap out or keep what they have put in your basket. And it’s a very limited, uh, not, not very limited. There was actually a lot of selection, but there is a finite number of selections so it’s not this infinite decision-making circus that you have to go through. And um, that was one of the things with online grocery shopping. It, even though it’s a huge improvement from being in the grocery store, I really appreciated this imperfect produce platform because you were very, um, you had parameters like you couldn’t just, it wasn’t like any vegetable in the world, which makes it very hard to downsize and make decisions, which, you know, it takes me a couple of hours to put together a shopping list.
Um, even online, if I’m purchasing online, it takes a couple of hours almost just because I get distracted with the kid and I’m trying to, I’m obsessed with perfection. Like I have to get exactly the right things in the right amount and it’s a whole thing, even though it’s a lot easier than being in person. So, um, did the whole order with imperfect produce? Um, they said we’re going, um, they tell you what day they’re bringing it by your house. And, um, what I really like is they keep their carbon footprint low by having a fixed route. And so it’s not like food delivery where every single delivery is a car trip. It’s like they have a fixed route where they’re dropping food off and your neighborhood and then, um, everything they give you, like the packaging is either recyclable or if you leave it outside, there’s like one or two things that um, aren’t recyclable.
But if you leave them outside, they’ll take them back the ice. I think it’s the ice pack and this, this foil lining thing, they’ll take it back and they’ll reuse it. They’ll find another use for it. So, um, that really appealed to me because, you know, all this talk of climate change and just, I’ve, I’ve really been wanting to step up my game in that department. So there’s this little feel good benefit, a big feel, good benefit on top of what is already you’re reducing food waste, you’re simplifying your life cause you’re having fewer decisions to make and it’s kinda set it and forget it. And so, um, let’s get the food. Um,
a lot of the things I got, I purposefully chose things that would last longer because my biggest problem with produces, I get excited at the store and I buy a lot of it and then I end up just tossing it because I didn’t use it quickly enough. So for me, I stuck with a lot of things like bar sturdy things that lasts longer, like potatoes and broccoli stocks and apples and pears and carrots. Um, I did get some lettuce and I didn’t get to use it all before it went bad. So that’s just a lesson for me not to get lettuce again. Um, tomatoes, which are so versatile that you know, you can use them in any kind of foods so you don’t have to worry about not using them. Those were the main things for produce. I did do the meat and dairy add-ons and then there’s a snack add on.
So I did try all of those add ons just to see what that was all about. And um, it was great. Like they had like your basic staples, like cottage cheese, sour cream. Um, they have their own line of like chicken breasts and pork chops and it was all very high quality food and the produce was definitely across the board cheaper. I compared it with my local grocery store. And then as far as the other ad-ons, um, they were either comparable in price or cheaper. It was one or the other. But I think a lot of that is convenience and um, but the produce definitely in my experience was cheaper. And then, I don’t know about your store, but at my store you do pay a $5 personal shopper fee and then I believe there’s even a, a $5 pickup fee on top of it.
Or there’s, there’s a couple of surcharges. So, but this one, it’s um, think you do pay for delivery. Although when I signed up, there was a free delivery promotion. So for me it was like there was no extra personal shopper fee and so you might pay delivery fees, but to me it still came out lower to have that stuff brought to your door. And I didn’t have the guilt trip of the, um, the carbon footprint because they’re on a fixed route and you can reuse all the packaging that your food arrives in. And so, um, I want to talk about my three favorite meals I had. I, I’m still eating the food. I received it two weeks ago. So clearly the food, the portions are really generous. I used the wizard that they tell you to use and I picked the, the two family two to four package and it’s two for us. It’s two adults and a baby. And I could have easily gone with just like the, the really small pack. Cause I still, I still have food. I’m still making it. Um, but my three favorite things were that I made were beef stroganoff and two different, um, one sheet pan meals. And so, um, one was pork and the other was chicken, I believe. Let me check.
My top three favorite meals from the whole experience was beef stroganoff and then a one sheet pan meal would chicken sausage and then another one sheet pan meal with chicken and vegetables. And so I’ll start with the stroganoff. Um, I’m extra going off any way at home. I, I um, I always buy stew meat for the meat and then I boil the noodles separately. And then, um, I ha I ha I was using a seasoning packet in the past and sour cream. Uh, it was just like four or five ingredients and it’s a comfort food I always had growing up. And so it’s always in my rotation. This time around I kicked it up a notch. I was inspired by having all of us like natural produce straight from the ground. And I actually didn’t use a seasoning packet. I actually used a beef broth.
And if you just get on the internet and just Google like stroganoff sauce or whatever, you can find a sauce recipe that has really simple. So, um, I used, um, ground Turkey from my box and I used the chop mushrooms and I used broccoli on the side. And it was a fantastic meal and you could taste just the freshness of using fresh, cause I usually use frozen and frozen is definitely good and that, you know, I’m not bashing frozen vegetables. They flash freeze them and maintain the nutrients. So definitely not bashing it. It’s definitely better than eating out. Um, but I could just taste the freshness. So I, I think I’m a believer now. I think I have enough faith in myself that I can buy straight up produce from the ground and cut it up. And I have it in my skillset. And I’ll tell you my little trick here in a minute.
So the, the meal two and meal three were just the one sheet pans and it was just like I cut up whatever fruits, I mean, not fruits, cut up, whatever vegetables were around and um, covered it with olive oil and then covered it with um, seasoning blend. And then I made the, the meat separately in the instant pot. And the reason I did that is because I like to keep my meat frozen because I don’t know when I’m going to use it. I don’t know what I’m going to be hungry for. And so an hour before I make, before I eat and need to prepare my food, so I don’t want to have a bunch of thought out stuff that’s going to go bad. And I’m, I, I’m committed to this thing I thought out cause I mean who knows, you know, your day can get racked and then maybe you’re not cooking that night, but you have like this meat you have to use.
So I don’t like doing all that. And so, uh, my secret is I’m seasoning blends. I’ve become obsessed, the seasoning blends and I will link them all and the post, it’s going to be, um, adult with adhd.com/food but I mean, pick a country and, or you pick what you’re in the mood for. There is a spice splint for it. And I have only scratched the surface of this underworld and I can’t get enough of it. It’s not even the underworld, it’s mainstream. But to me it’s just such a novelty because I’ve never entertained the idea of preparing my own food. Um, and then another thing, I a um, I made a snack out of, um, they gave me a can of like Amy’s chili and I had blue corn tortillas and I mixed that up and there was a block of white cheese that was in there and I shred of that and put that on top. So that was like a meal as well. And that was really good. But I honestly like
that imperfect produce box taught me how to prepare food, um, from scratch. Like I never had the confidence to do that before. And so to them, I thank them for that cause now it’s like sky’s the limit. Um, they, I even have a couple of bags of chemo and lentils that, um, I still need to try. I’m actually, I am, don’t laugh at me, but I’m actually thinking of getting another little instant pot just for grains and lentils and all that stuff because, um, I always need the main pot for the meat. And so I really do think I’m going to get a separate, like smaller pot for grains. Cause right now it’s been meeting vegetables, which is good. But I, I think we’re still a little hungry at the end where we’re kind of grabbing tortilla chips still. So I’m gonna I need to make some sort of like lentils or Keene water or something, but I think I’ve got to figure it out guys.
And we’re all excited. And then, um, for leftovers, I pack my daughter’s lunch using leftovers. And so I know she has a fully nutritious meal the next day that I don’t have to think about. And it’s just been fantastic. And this, this kid, my three year old, I mean she saw me cutting carrots and she’d grabbed one of the carrots and was literally eating it like bugs bunny and it was the most adorable thing in the world. And it just made me so happy to see her getting excited about, um, food straight from the ground and, and that’s it. And so, um, just wanted to share that epiphany with you guys. I know a lot of you cook, but for me, it, it really is a novelty. It’s not something I really picked up on, um, for various reasons. ADHD being one of them. Um, so this was cool. And, um, thanks again, the imperfect produce for showing that experience. And I’m going to have all the pictures and information and links, um, email@example.com slash food and you can learn more about my journey. And until next time, happy adulting.