printer-friendly version   Printer-Friendly Version  

ADHD Diet: Following an ADHD Diet on a Budget

One of the challenges involved in putting your child on a diet for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is coming up with food items and meals within the restrictions of the diet.   Before the diet, you could just buy anything off the supermarket shelves without having to worry about its ingredients or nutrition content. Now, you have to make sure that your product is organic, or that all your foods are gluten-free and casein-free, not to mention that you have to say good-by to the convenience of preparing instant meals.  Besides having to go out of your way to prepare these meals, you also have to take finances into account. Processed foods are the cheapest in the market, but now that they’re off-limits, it looks like you’ll need to shell out a little more cash for healthy foods.  Or will you? Follow these practical, time-tested tips on how to follow any ADHD diet on a budget.

Make a weekly meal plan

You can avoid wasting money on ingredients and items you don’t need by making a weekly meal plan. That way, you’ll know exactly how much of each food item to buy when you do the groceries.  Plan the menus with your child and the rest of the family so that meals will be just as enjoyable as the days before the diet.  Remember to bring a list with you when you buy groceries!
Look for recipes online

If you look online or at your local bookstore, you’ll find a lot of recipe books for specific ADHD diets like the gluten-free, casein-free diet, the Feingold Diet, Sara’s diet, rotation diets, and the FAILSAFE Diet.  But why buy a book when you can just look up recipes online?  Many parents with ADHD children share their recipes on individual websites, message boards, and mailing lists.  They’ll even give you tips on where to buy ADHD-friendly foods and food substitutes. Search engines like Google can do wonders for you.

Make your own pre-cooked meals

Today, online stores like can provide you with ADHD-friendly pre-cooked meals, mixes, and snacks. However, a pre-cooked meal can cost as much as $9. If you can afford to buy pre-made foods, then good for you.  But if you can’t, you can easily make your own pre-cooked meals by cooking in big batches, then freezing everything in individual servings. That way, when your child needs a quick meal, all you do is grab it from the freezer, pop it in the microwave, and go.

Take advantage of your frequent buyer points or store discounts

Ask your local supermarket if they have loyalty discounts.  If the supermarket has discounts for Senior Citizens, you might want to take Grandma with you when you do the groceries.
Shop at your local farmer’s market

Groceries and supermarkets usually mark up the produce from farmers. Instead of buying from the middleman, why not shop at your neighborhood farmer’s market? Not only are the prices 30% lower than what you get at the supermarkets; the fruits and vegetables are fresher, too.

Buy secondhand appliances

Sometimes, ADHD diets don’t work due to cross-contamination issues.  If you need a second toaster or freezer to avoid cross-contamination, visit your local Goodwill or secondhand store. They often carry secondhand appliances in great condition at very low prices.