Organizing Your Fridge the ADHD Friendly Way

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When you have ADHD, eating fresh healthy food is important because it can help manage your ADHD symptoms as well as your overall long term health. By nature, fresh food has a short shelf life, and this can cause problems when you are living with ADHD.  For example, many people with ADHD have an ‘out of sight out of mind’ problem. Unless they can see a food item, they forget they have it. This means that any food that is pushed to the back of the fridge or is in a drawer can go moldy and will have to be thrown out.

Some people feel guilty about wasting food and stop buying fresh produce all together.

Organizing your fridge in an ADHD friendly way helps you to eat healthy food as well as save time and money.  Here are 6 easy steps to organize your fridge. 

1) Empty the contents of your fridge and wipe down the surfaces.

2) If anything is moldy or doesn’t look appealing throw it out, including all your leftover plastic containers.

3) The shelves on the door of your fridge are warmer so they make a great place to keep your condiments where they are easy to find.  Before placing your condiments in their new location throw away any condiments that are out of date or that you no longer use.

4) Invest in some transparent baskets or containers to put on the fridge shelves. These help you keep similar items together and limit stray items from getting pushed to the back of the fridge.  Label the containers in a way that makes sense for you.

  For example,  you could have a ‘dairy’ container where you keep cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese  or a ‘breakfast food’ container where you keep all the foods that you typically use for breakfast. Keeping like items together also saves time when you are in a rush.

5) The drawers at the bottom of the fridge are designed to put produce like fruit and vegetables.

However, if you forget items that they can’t see, here are some suggestions -pick the one that suits you best:

*Label the drawers so you have a visual prompt to remind you what is in there.

*Leave the drawers empty and put your produce in bowls in your kitchen where you can see them. The produce won’t last as long, but it is more likely to get eaten.

*Put your produce in the drawers and become a great meal planner. If you follow a meal plan, and buy the groceries you need for a week, you know the items are in your fridge somewhere even if you can’t see them.

6) Meat can either be kept on the lowest shelf of your fridge or in one of the drawers. This is to ensure that it doesn’t contaminate other food. Because meat is one of the more expensive items on your grocery list, remembering to eat it before the expiry date is important.   Here are some suggestions - try the one that works best for you:

*Buy meat in smaller quantities, and visit the grocery more often.

*Become an excellent meal planner so you always eat what is in your fridge.

*Keep  meat in your freezer, and take it out the morning you are going to cook it. This does require you to remember to take it out to defrost. 

There isn’t a perfect answer; it is just a question of working out a system that suits you best.

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