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Smart ADHD-Friendly Meal-Planning

Not everyone is a cook, but we all deal with food at some point or another. And if you’re frustrated with how your ADHD brain functions when it runs headlong into meal planning, this week’s episode is for you.

We talk about the importance of the recipe reset and the power of cleaning out the system in favor of meals you actually eat. We talk about how important it is to think of meal planning as the organizing system that it is. Plus, we offer a few new apps that might meet your needs for organizing and scheduling your mealtime fun!

Links & Notes

Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright:
Hello, everybody, and welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast on TruStory FM. I’m Pete Wright, and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer:
Hello, everyone. Hello, Pete Wright in the New Year.

Pete Wright:
Oh, man, this episode’s going to make me hungry.

Nikki Kinzer:
Wow.

Pete Wright:
Season-

Nikki Kinzer:
… for sure.

Pete Wright:
… 26, we’re starting 26 with a hungry episode. Oh, goodness. We’re talking about meal planning, ADHD meal planning.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right.

Pete Wright:
How did this come about today? How were you inspired?

Nikki Kinzer:
It came from a couple of different places. One is the timing. I just think that in the start of the new year, we don’t really do resolutions, right?

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
I don’t even remember the word. That’s why I don’t do them. But for me personally, after listening to the founder of YNAB, it got me thinking about financials and money and how meal planning kind of fits into that. I got to tell you, the other thing that inspired this is we had done a show in the last part of last year, and meal planning came up, but we didn’t really talk much more about it just being… It was really just that it was a good thing to do. But we really didn’t talk a lot about how to do it or how to make it ADHD-friendly. So that also brought the topic up to be discussed.

Pete Wright:
Well, I think it is very timely, and I think both of us have tools that we are pretty zealous about to recommend.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, which is great.

Pete Wright:
I’m excited about it. Yeah. Before we dig in, before we tuck in, head over to takecontrolADHD.com. You can get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website, or subscribe to the mailing list, and we will send you an email with a new episode each week. You can connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest at Take Control ADHD, but to really connect with us, join us in the ADHD Discord community. It’s super easy to jump in the general community chat channel. Just visit takecontrolADHD.com/discord, and you’ll be whisked over to the general invitation and login. If you’re looking for a little more, particularly, if this show has ever touched you or helped you to understand your relationship with ADHD in a new way, we invite you to support the show directly through Patreon. Patreon is listener-supported podcasting. With a few dollars a month, you can help guarantee that we continue to grow the show, add new features, and invest more heavily in our community. Visit Patreon.com/theADHDpodcast to learn more.
I will tell you, one of the benefits of Patreon membership, I just this morning, like sweat prepping for meal planning, because just this morning, I recorded a new episode of placeholder, which is all about reading technology. The tools I use to read and track my reading, and I’m very excited about it, and that should post, as we’re recording this, it should post hopefully later today. So we’ll get back on track for placeholders. I’m very excited about the new year, for all of this stuff we’re doing through Patreon. Thank you, everybody who is already a supporter, and if you’re just considering, you can jump in and get access to all the cool goodies and secret channels in Discord, and special member-only podcasts and editions of this show. Patreon.com/theADHDpodcast.
Okay. Meal planning, Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer:
Meal planning. Yes. It’s time. It’s time. All right. So it’s interesting, because one of the things that inspired me to do this as well is I was looking at our meal planning guide that we give out as a giveaway, right? It’s a download that you can get on our website. It’s a little outdated, Pete. It’s a little outdated.

Pete Wright:
What is outdated about it? Because I’m of two minds on it.

Nikki Kinzer:
I know, I am too. It’s outdated in the sense that when I think about what would I, if I’m working with a client one-on-one, how would I advise them? How would I work with them on meal planning? A lot of the material in the guide still stands true, absolutely.

Pete Wright:
Okay.

Nikki Kinzer:
The piece that doesn’t stand true is that my first recommendation is to find an app. It wouldn’t be to do things on written-

Pete Wright:
Right, it’s not on paper anymore. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
That was the biggest thing really that was like, “Huh, do we really need this? Because this is not what I would advise my ADHD client to do.” So that’s where the conflict was. So Melissa and I and Pete are definitely updating that. It was perfect timing to do this show and then update that download. Everybody will have access to that new download in the show.

Pete Wright:
Does the download just say ADHD Meal Planning: Get an AP? Is that the-

Nikki Kinzer:
No, no, no, no.

Pete Wright:
I don’t know. What are the changes that we made?

Nikki Kinzer:
And this show won’t be just that either, because there is definitely… ADHD meal planning is difficult, because it’s planning. Whether you’re meal planning or you’re planning your day, it’s not easy. Planning your week, it’s not easy. So I want to talk about some of those things. But first of all, I want to talk about just what is meal planning and give you the essence of what we’re trying to do and what we’re talking about.
Really, if we keep it simplified, it’s making a decision on what meals you’re going to make during a specific period of time. So you can decide if that’s going to be one week, if that’s going to be just tonight, or if you are really inspired, maybe you do a whole month view. I don’t know. But you are basically deciding what your meals are going to be in this specific time, and you’re taking an inventory of what you have in your pantry, your refrigerator, you’re making a grocery list of the items that you need to get. You go to the grocery story. You unload those groceries, and you make the meals. That’s what we’re looking for, right?

Pete Wright:
Right, right.

Nikki Kinzer:
The benefits to meal planning really come down for me and what I hear from other people are three things. One is time, the other is money, and it reduces anxiety. The time factor is big, because it saves time from wandering around the grocery store trying to figure out what you want to eat and what you need, and looking up on your phone. I’ve done this before, totally guilty, looking up a recipe on my phone trying to remember what’s in it. It’s time consuming if you don’t have a plan before you go to the grocery store, and it also saves time from having to go to the store for extra ingredients.
So if you’ve already planned, you don’t go home and then forget something, right? Because you’ve had it on the list. So you’re saving some time there. Money has been a huge factor for our family, because when we don’t meal plan, we eat out. There is no in between. Right?

Pete Wright:
For sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
So we’ll spend a lot of money eating out if we don’t have a meal that we know we’re going to have or the ingredients. Then having a plan actually helps us stay within our food budget, because the groceries that we’re buying are very intentional, and they’re not hopeful wishes that we might have asparagus this week. Then the asparagus goes bad, because we didn’t really have anything planned to eat it with. I don’t know many people who just eat asparagus on its own. We’ve got these issues, but the biggest thing for me and what I hear from my clients is that it reduces that anxiety of it’s around 4:00 or 5:00 PM. I’ve had a long day, hard day, and I have no idea what we’re going to have for dinner. I don’t know what we have even to make. It’s just not a good place to me. Lots of anxiety. Then again, from my experience, then we go to takeout.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, or are you a DoorDash family?

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, we are.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, like prime member of DoorDash.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s so expensive. Yes.

Pete Wright:
I know. I know, and-

Nikki Kinzer:
But we still do it. Yeah.

Pete Wright:
When you break the seal, once you break the seal on DoorDash, the pandemic, once you know how easy it is and how capable you are of doing it, man, it can get out of control fast. It can get out of control so fast.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, and I think COVID changed a lot. When you think about meal planning, I think a lot of things changed for me after COVID because of the convenience, because of DoorDash, and because you can do grocery shopping online, and you can get them delivered or just sit in your cart and have them be delivered to your trunk. There’s a lot of things. We’ll talk about that a little bit later.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, for sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
I definitely think that that made a difference. Well, one of the things I want to point out too is why meal planning is difficult for ADHD-ers specifically. As I mentioned before, it’s like with any kind of planning, we need our executive functions to be in working order to plan. So executive functions are the group of complex mental processes and cognitive abilities, such as working memory, impulse inhibition, and reasoning that control the skills, such as organizing tasks, remembering details, managing time, and solving problems required for goal-directed behavior.
So when you really break all of that down, meal planning has so many steps to it that requires you to remember things, to plan them, to get started on them, to organize them, and to also implement. So it isn’t surprising that this is a difficult thing to do. The other factor that I think that we don’t take into account is we don’t necessarily see meal planning as an actual type of organizing system. It is.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, for sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, and if you don’t have-

Pete Wright:
And for sure, and once you start seeing the tools that are in place for people who’ve thought deeply about this, whether it’s our old meal planning workshop, you realize all the things that you’re probably missing and thinking about your meal planning, that it takes time, that it’s work, and that it involves probably more than just you.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right. Exactly. When you don’t have even a getting started place to go, it gets overwhelming. So why even do it? I’m just going to go back to the grocery store and wing it, right? It is a system. We talk a lot about systems in this show. What this means in regards to meal planning is it means that you have a routine in place. Yo have some set of actions that you do every time you sit down to meal plan. So in review, what are those steps? You have to make some decisions on what you want to eat and what your family wants to eat if you live with more than yourself. You have to take an inventory of what you have and what groceries to buy. You have to make that list. You have to go to the store. Again, you have to unload those groceries. Then you have to make the meals. So this varies from person to person on how you’re going to make this system work.
Where we started with this conversation is that you have a couple of different ways to do this. You have this digital option or you have this old school kind of paper option, which his totally fine, because I know a lot of people that still do this, and I don’t want to say that you have to go with an app. Pete and I use two different apps. There’s a lot of different options out there. But the point is you do need to have an idea of what your system is. You have to have it in something, or it can be a combination of both too, and I’ll talk about that in a minute.

Pete Wright:
Sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
But the digital apps, there’s a lot of pros on them, because they make everything so automated. Pete, use use an app called Mela.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. I do.

Nikki Kinzer:
M-E-L-A.

Pete Wright:
M-E-L-A, mm-hmm.

Nikki Kinzer:
I just started using Plan to Eat. I was using Paprika before that.

Pete Wright:
What made you switch from Paprika to Plan to Eat?

Nikki Kinzer:
I wanted something new, because honestly-

Pete Wright:
That makes sense.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, honestly, the two do really almost identically the same thing, but it just looks different. There was somebody in GPS, one of the members who recommended it. I thought, “I’m going to check it out.” I checked it out, and I really like the platform. I really just liked it. I kind of wanted to start over a little bit, because Paprika got really… I was putting recipes in there that I hadn’t made, and so when I would go in there to look for food to make, it wasn’t really a real-

Pete Wright:
Didn’t represent your library, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
It didn’t represent my real dinners. So I thought this is a good time to start over.

Pete Wright:
Declare recipe bankruptcy.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, it really is, Pete, honestly, and it was the new year. Something that you were talking about before we started the show, you were really proud of yourself for doing all of these handy things around the house over the break.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, right, and not dying. That’s the important part.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, and not dying.

Pete Wright:
There were no hospitalizations.

Nikki Kinzer:
Exactly. One of the things that I did accidentally, but that I’m really proud of, is I was so inspired by our conversation with YNAB, I’m like, “I got to get back into that.” Thank God for their fresh start, because that is a beautiful thing. I logged in, and I did a fresh start with my business account and with my personal account. I got all that set up, feeling great. Then my husband tells me about this coupon app that runs in the background called Honey.

Pete Wright:
We should talk about that.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yep, we will talk about that. So I put that in there. Then I found Plan to Eat. I’m like, “Okay, I’m on a good role. I’m feeling like I’m budgeting. I’m saving money. I’m going to set this up. I went online and did the grocery shopping. I saved $30 by using the Honey app.

Pete Wright:
That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Nikki Kinzer:
Honestly, you guys, I don’t know if that’s common or if it was just this flukey thing, but that blew me away. So I felt, one of the things I was really proud of is I just felt like, “Wow, I’m feeling good about the financial stuff.” And meal planning is definitely part of it, because you can just save so much money by doing that. So going back to the apps.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, sure. Do you want to walk through those apps before… I want to talk about Honey in particular, because there are questions about Honey that I want to make sure I do my best to disabuse.

Nikki Kinzer:
Okay.

Pete Wright:
So Honey is a browser extension that you install in your web browser. When you go to a shopping site, it’s always out there looking for deals for you, for coupons that are floating around the internet that you can clip and apply to the purchase you’re about to make. So if there’s a rogue coupon, it’ll find it, and you can use it and save a few bucks. Browser extensions, the concern normally with these kinds of browser extensions is that they are user identifiable. So they’re tracking you and your behavior online from site to site. They’re making connections about you. That’s what people have so much trouble about with digital advertising. They know too much about my footprint on the internet. They’re making assumptions about who I am based on what I do. So privacy advocates generally say this is not a good thing.
I will say Honey was purchased by PayPal some years ago for enough money to make it interesting. PayPal is a good company for this kind of behavior. So in doing some research, if anybody has found anything super concerning about Honey, I would love to know, because in my research, Honey’s biggest problem is that because it’s constantly running in the background, searching other websites for deals, it’s building up a fairly significant cache in your browser, which can make things slow down. Right? So if your browser starts performing poorly, it might be because Honey is a huge weight on it that’s constantly slowing it down. So my recommendation there is if you’re using Honey, maybe use a different browser with Honey than your main browser. If you use Chrome day-to-day, use Safari or Firefox for your Honey shopping. Then you probably won’t see those problems.
So provided you’re okay giving up your personal behavior linked directly to your identity and payment information, Honey doesn’t appear to be a terribly egregious app any more than shopping on Amazon or United Airlines or any place else is. But it is a system hog. So on slower machines, it can give you trouble.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s good to know.

Pete Wright:
That’s what I have found out about Honey. It seems okay to save you some bucks, and in your case, use that money and put it toward a faster computer, and you’re okay.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right. Right. Well, and it’s so interesting, because my husband does a lot of these things, right?

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Where he has a lot of these clippers and he subscribes to all of these emails that have ways to save money. I just sort of did it just sort of to appease him. Like, “Okay, sure, I’ll put it on there.” But man, I was surprised. I was pleasantly surprised when I saved that much on a grocery bill.

Pete Wright:
Makes a difference.

Nikki Kinzer:
I’m glad that you bring all of that up, because it’s important. I don’t know if that’s usual, honestly. It could have been just a flukey thing, but it felt good at the time. I will tell you that.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, that’s nice.

Nikki Kinzer:
I think that when we were talking about the digital options and why I felt like our first guide was a little bit outdated, it is really just because there’s just, again, it’s the automation. It just makes things so easy to collect the recipes. You could organize them in different ways. A lot of these different apps will have a meal plan calendar so you can see visually what you’re planning, which is just a nice perk. It creates the shopping list for you. You don’t have to do that. So there’s just a lot of options there that I think make it really easy, but like anything, you have to maintain it, and you have to make it a habit, and you have to use it.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. Right.

Nikki Kinzer:
What do you want to add, Pete, about it?

Pete Wright:
Well, I just want to add one thing about Mela, which it’s very similar to Plan to Eat in a number of ways. Mela exists on your local computer. It is iOS and Apple, sorry. Mac, iOS, iPad OS. But where Plan to Eat exists in the cloud. So you access it through a web browser. It’s syncing stuff to the cloud between your apps essentially. So that’s one fundamental difference. For me, all of my data exists and is synced through my iCloud account, but it lives on my computer first. So it does all the things you talked about. So I add recipes. It tells me which recipes I’ve cooked most recently, and I can add recipes to want to cook, favorites. I can categorize them. It’s all great. It has the calendar. It has the grocery list. The calendar is linked to your primary system, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, whatever you use, and your groceries go into your reminders list. It’s super easy to use.
But there is something that sets it apart for me and why I use it. First, syncing between me and other members of my household is brainless. There are so many of these apps that are terrible at it. We don’t use an app if it can’t sync between our devices, because it’s useless for us. It’s just useless. Might as well use just a cookbook and webpage. So this has been a game changer in Mela. The second game changer in Mela is the way we can explore new recipes. We have some websites that we love, some food blogs that we love, and they often post recipes in their blog posts. The engine in Mela for parsing out what is a blog post and what is a recipe is the best I’ve ever seen. I can go into Mela, and I have a library of websites that I have put in there, like Nom Nom Paleo, for example. She writes incredible blog posts that have wonderful photography and flowery language. She’s got 2,000 words of why I love to cook brisket. Then at the very bottom, it says, “Here’s the little recipe.” That’s all I want. Right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Right, right.

Pete Wright:
When I’m cooking, I don’t want the prose. I just want the recipe. So I put the entire website into my feeds list in Mela, and it parses out just the recipes and shows me a list of all of the recipes with their primary hero photo. I can go in and browse them if I’m just looking for something, and if I like it, I can just drag it over to my library and schedule it for when I want to make it. It doesn’t have any of the language, any of the stuff. It’s just the brief introduction, the instructions, the ingredients, and the source where I got it, prep time, how many people it’ll feed. It’s just perfect.
The person who developed this app is an RSS developer. So he cut his teeth on making the most popular RSS app on iOS and Mac, Feeder. So Mela is his entry. He already knows how to handle text to make it look beautiful. I love it. I love it, love it, love it, love it. I don’t think it’s a subscription app. It’s just a pay once and you own it for iOS and Mac. I’m singing the praises of the technology behind Mela, because it’s so beautiful.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. Well, and I think that for anyone that’s looking for an app, definitely do your research and look at what resonates with you, what you like, what you’re looking for, what you need. There’s a lot of them out there. I would make a decision, check it out, try it. If you don’t like it, move on. You don’t want to sit in this rabbit hole of indecision. So I definitely recommend trying it and seeing what you think.
The paper option is still very popular and still very much there if you don’t want to use technology. The point though I think to make meal planning easier, if you’re using a pen and paper and making a list, is just to make sure that the menu is, that you have a list, and this is what I’m going to talk about when you’re starting a new system, is making some kind of list of your favorite meals and recipes to look at, right? Because that’s really important.
I think that one of the things that we get stuck on when we’re meal planning is that if you don’t have something to refer back to, it’s hard to remember what you like or what you want. If you’re not hungry, it really is hard to decide what you want. So that’s where I would say with any kind of system that you’re building, start with making a list of your favorite meals and recipes. For me, because I started over this year with a new one, I’m just entering a few of our favorites, and then I’m adding to it as I make meals. So it’s not something that I feel like I have to set up completely all at once. So that’s the one thing I would say is if you’re starting a new system, do it slow. You don’t have to put everything in there, because it’s going to be time-consuming, and it takes time to build it up as a full library.
If you’re going to go paper, I would just say, hey, have a list somewhere where you can just refer back to and say, “Okay, here are our favorite meals. Here are the things that are easy.” Whatever that might be. Anything you want to add to-

Pete Wright:
This is the value. Yeah, this is the value of grandma’s cookbook, right? Grandma’s cookbook. The thing that made grandma’s cookbook great was not just that it was a book full of recipes, but it was that she was rigorous about the index of the recipes in the front. She had several pages in the front. Every recipe she added, it was always alphabetical order, never by meal type, because she ate weird things at weird times of days. But at the beginning, there was an index. So she could scan the recipes very, very quickly, because she’d made everything that ever got… That was the criteria. You have to make it before it earns its place in the book. She knew what those recipes were. That index proved to be a significant reminder of what she wanted. I think that’s really important for meal planning is just being able to scan and say, “What strikes me as something I’d like to make this week?” Whether you’re using it on digital or paper.

Nikki Kinzer:
What’s something we haven’t had in a while?

Pete Wright:
Yeah. For sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, whether it’s digital or paper. The other thing I was going to add before I jumped into this, and I apologize, but the combination of both, one of the things… I have a lot of cookbooks, and I don’t want to get rid of my cookbooks. So I also don’t want to spend the time putting a recipe in a cookbook or in my plan to eat if I already have it in a cookbook that I know where to find it. So what I did is I would put down the recipe, but then in directions, I would say, “It’s in what cookbook?” Then I’m just going to go to the cookbook.
But the good thing about it is it still keeps that meal in front of me, but I still get to keep the cookbook, and it’s still using both. So that was one thing I was going to add, and I do not do that. I think the other piece, again, that we’ve talked a little bit about is this routine. We have to keep practicing this routine of meal planning on a regular scheduled time. Preferably, you want it to be the same day of the week, if you can. What we recommend in the guide is that you do meal planning either once or twice a week. There’s pros for both. Once a week, you’re basically sitting down and saying, okay, you’re planning for the next five to seven meals, assuming that some of those meals are going to be takeout or leftovers.
Then one of the ideas that came from a client of mine a long, long time ago was once a week was too overwhelming to try to think of five to seven meals. So she actually broke it down to doing it twice a week, where she would plan for the first half of the week, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Then she would know that Wednesday, she had leftovers. Then she would plan for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but one of those nights were usually out to eat. So she really only needed to do two more meals at the end of the week. That breaking it up for her felt better. It felt less overwhelming, and she was able to do that. So those are the two kind of ways that we recommend, but again, you may have a weird schedule. Maybe you can’t do it on a Sunday. Maybe your days off are Wednesday and Thursday. So you have to kind of figure out what works best for you.
It also makes a difference if you’re doing it by yourself or if you’re doing it with your partner or with roommates. There’s a lot of community or houses where you might live with a community of people that… I can’t remember what they’re called.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, like a hostel or a commune?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, kind of thing. Well, not commune, but yeah.

Pete Wright:
Cult? I think a cult village, or yeah, no.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s not a cult village. It’s a community.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
I don’t know, but anyway, they all make meals together, right? So they all share their meals and everything.

Pete Wright:
Communal living, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, [inaudible 00:28:57] yeah. Exactly. But if you’re doing it with other people, that can obviously make it a difference of when you do it. I have some just basic kind of tips to throw out there for people that I’ve seen that have worked for myself and for clients that I’ve worked with, because this actually comes up quite a bit in sessions. When you’re planning your meals, check your schedule. So look at the week and see what are your busy days, because we want to make sure that those days, the meals are really easy to prepare. Also think about the Crock Pot, because if you have a really busy day-

Pete Wright:
Oh, Crock Pot, Instant Pot. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, you can make, in the Crock Pot, not so much the Instant Pot, because that’s Instant, but you can make the meal in the morning, and then it’ll be ready for you in the evening. But-

Pete Wright:
Oh, but you can use the Instant Pot as a Crock Pot.

Nikki Kinzer:
I guess you can too. Yeah, that’s true.

Pete Wright:
You absolutely can. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s true. Well, and that’s the other thing I was going to say is invest in some of these appliance, like Instant Pot, air fryers. We use our air fryer all the time. In fact, it sits out on our-

Pete Wright:
Yeah, that’s one we don’t have yet.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. I think part of it is because my daughter uses it a lot, so it’s just out. But Crock Pots, the different blenders. All of those things that are going to make your life easier, invest in that, because especially in Instant Pot and the air fryers have kind of been a life changer for us on how quick we can make meals. But definitely shop your freezer, your pantry when you’re making your decisions. That will definitely help with not wasting food.
I always think too about what is a meal that we can have that will have leftovers? So then now this one meal turns into two, and that’s always a win-win. The two meals that jumped at me when I was writing the outline was when I make a pot roast, we always have French dip sandwiches the next day.

Pete Wright:
So good.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s something that I got from my mom. Then if we have ham, we almost always have some kind of breakfast omelet for dinner the next night. So it is kind of nice to have those two meals.

Pete Wright:
Well, I think those anchors are really important. For us, for many years when my kids were younger, Friday night was movie night, and movie night meant pizza night. So we made our own pizzas.

Nikki Kinzer:
I remember that about you. Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. So everybody had their own personal pizza, but we get the dough, and then we would make our own toppings, and everybody had exactly what they wanted. It was easy to predict how long it would take to cook. We knew pizza was coming, so we never had to argue about that. Then Sunday night was Yum night. Those who are in Oregon, Pacific Northwest might have heard of Café Yum. They make kind of a unique rice bowl kind of a thing, and the signature sauce is Yum sauce. We love Yums. So we would make Yums at our house every Sunday night for 15 years.
Having anchor meals in our week means that Sunday afternoon when we’re planning our grocery trip for the week, we are only planning Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. We have essentially two days that are free, because we already know what we’re going to buy for those. We don’t have to negotiate or argue, or when you’re talking about meal planning with other people, it sure makes it easier to at least have some staples.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, it does make it… Yes, and I know for the longest time, especially when my kids were younger and they actually ate with us, now they don’t, because they’re young adults, but we would have breakfast for dinner at least once a night, we would have breakfast for dinner. It was so easy. Everybody liked it. It was one of those staple dinners that was just easy to have. I know people do that with tacos, like Taco Tuesday, or they’ll have some kind of ritual around that. That could definitely make things easier, especially if you don’t really… We don’t really care about having a lot of variety, so we’re okay with having tacos once a week and having this stuff, but definitely get your family involved. When they were younger too, we would have each member of our family decide on a meal. So that made less decision making for me. So that was also making it a lot easier. If your kids are young and they want grilled cheese, then great, have grilled cheese and soup. Nothing has to be fancy. But it does help to have them decide at least one meal.
Then, of course, we’ve already talked about the coupons that you can look at if you’re looking to save money at the grocery store. A couple of things that happened with me personally post-COVID that really changed the way that I think of meal planning and just meal prepping in general, the first one was all of the meal delivery services. Now I know that that was probably happening a lot before COVID, but it seemed in our house anyway, that was when we really started to use a company called Hello Fresh. We would sign up for two meals a week. So that automatically solved the problem of having two meals that were already ready, because they give you the ingredients. You just have to cook it. So then I was only looking to having to plan three meals that week. So that also, it’s more expensive to probably do it that way, if you’re breaking down if you went to the store and bought the same ingredients, but the convenience level was definitely very nice, and having the… I don’t know, just having it ready to go.
I know that a lot of people will do this with families, but a lot of single people will do this too, because it’s a little easier to have the meals for two people, and then have some leftovers, if you’re living by yourself. So that was a game-changer. I definitely think that’s something to look into, if you are looking to make meal planning a little bit easier. Then online grocery shopping, that changed my world. I never considered to do online grocery shopping before COVID. Never even thought about it.

Pete Wright:
Well, and so now you do online, but you go pick it up, or do you have it delivered?

Nikki Kinzer:
I don’t have it delivered. I have my husband go pick it up.

Pete Wright:
Oh. Really changed your world.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, and so I will go online, and I will do it all. That’s one of the things that I was so happy about at the beginning of this year is that it really does save you money from buying extra stuff, because you’re only buying what you need for your recipes and whatever extras, right? Like milk or eggs or whatever. But that was a game-changer, because yeah, I could go in, do it online, and then my husband would go pick it up, and he doesn’t have to go in the store, because at Albertsons, they just have these saved parking spots for people who are picking up their groceries. Then the clerk comes out and puts in your trunk, and you come home. I don’t like grocery shopping. It’s one of the things that I just don’t like to do. I avoid it, and I wait to do it the very last minute, until I absolutely have to. So this was a game-changer for me to be able to do that and save a lot of time.

Pete Wright:
That’s awesome. I’m with you. I hate it. My wife loves grocery shopping. She loves the whole experience.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s great.

Pete Wright:
I know. I know. We did all the online grocery shopping during the pandemic and picking it up and stuff, but she relishes her Sunday afternoon wandering through multiple grocery stores.

Nikki Kinzer:
Wandering around.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. That’s why I do all the laundry in the house.

Nikki Kinzer:
There you go.

Pete Wright:
We trade off. One more thing on Mela, just because you mentioned it, that I forgot I didn’t say, it has a wonderful photo to optical character recognition tool. So if you have a cookbook recipe, you’re at somebody’s house and you’re like, “Oh, that’s a great recipe in that book, but I don’t have that book.” You can take a picture of it, and it will find all the text and the ingredients and everything and put it in your Mela.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, that’s great.

Pete Wright:
And it looks like a Mela card. When you share a recipe, it shares it to a PDF that you can send, and it’s perfectly formatted, beautiful.

Nikki Kinzer:
Wow, that’s impressive.

Pete Wright:
So that’s one of the other things I love about Mela, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, that’s impressive.

Pete Wright:
So anyhow, that’s some ADHD meal planning. Think about your system. Think of it as a system, and then let’s get eating. Thank you everybody-

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
… for hanging out. This is our first episode of season 26, 26 of this fair show. We appreciate you downloading and listening, and happy New Year. Thank you all for your time and your attention. Don’t forget, if you have something to contribute to the conversation, we’re heading over to the Show Talk channel in our Discord server, and you can join us right over there by becoming a supporting member at the deluxe level or better. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer and food everywhere, I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll see you right here next week on Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.