ADHD and the Workplace / Adult ADHD / Coping Strategies

Packing Lunch, #ADHD-style Part II: What to pack.

It occurred to me after my previous post, that it might be helpful to share some of my favorite slapdash lunch-packing solutions. If you looooove cooking then you’ve clearly got an advantage and I envy your passion for food. But here’s what I stuff into a lunch bag, in no particular order:

Box of crackers.

Loaf of bread.

A container of chicken or egg salad that I can munch on for a few days on the crackers and bread.

Box of cereal – I usually just eat it dry if I don’t have a ton of time to stop what I’m doing to eat. It’s not something to rely on, because it’s just a carb bomb, but sometimes it’s good for those days when I just don’t feel like eating, too – it’s something to munch on. You can also bring a container of whatever “milk” you prefer.

Container of small fruit or veggie thing (like a container of cherry tomatoes or berries). I just open the package they came in, run it under the faucet, let it sit on a clean towel to wick the water out of the bottom, and stuff it in the bag. Spend a few days munching on it. Yeah yeah, I should probably “wash” my produce in an awesome pesticide removing cleaner…that’s just a level of meticulous that, as regard this particular issue, I just can’t get to yet. That’s the kind of obstacle that can easily keep me from eating at all, if I think about it too hard, because it’s one more layer on a subject I don’t really enjoy (food preparation). My ideals and my reality clash here and I just have to accept that. If you can afford to shop organic all the time, or local all the time – that is AWESOME and I highly encourage it. Then this would be less of an issue. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t – don’t overthink (like I just did, haha) if it means the difference between eating and not eating.

Small bottle of ranch dressing.

Small bag of some kind of vegetable. Like maybe carrots. I really like the pack of cherry tomatoes better though.

Bag of nuts. Like pistachios.

I sometimes kill two birds with one stone by preparing portions of food that I’m already packing for the kids. Like one child loves things like sliced bell peppers of pieces of cucumber…so I make extra and I stuff it in my lunch bag.

Large container of yogurt. Leave it in the work fridge. (I sometimes sprinkle the cereal, or some kind of crunchy granola thing, into the yogurt. Trail mix works well for this too.)

Large bottle of some kind of whole food hippie juice – kind of a splurge on my budget but sometimes I like to get a big green bottle of green juice. I specifically look for ones that are veggie oriented, but fruit – fruit juice is just a bomb of sugar. If you’re going to go there, pair it with some protein-y snack so you don’t screw yourself up.

Block o’ cheese.

It’s also true that if you have food that you specifically purchase just to have at work…and it’s fresh food…you really only have to pack it once a week if you bring enough for the week. Then you’re not having to do this every day. Because if you’re like me, you hate doing this every day – and any way you can cut down your list of must-do tasks, the better.

Four days a week I am also packing lunches for kids – I prefer to put more energy into that activity, but I still need to take care of myself.

Another thing I like to do – is cook a large amount of food in a crock pot. All you have to do is chop up the veggies and meat and what ever else you want in there, cook it overnight, voila, food for the week. Dump it into a travel-safe container. Take it to work. If you’re not comfortable with cooking, this is a great place to start – because there are tons of crock-pot recipes on the internet and there’s not a lot of cooking technique involved in dumping a bunch of stuff in a pot to cook for 8 hours.

I’m sure there are a million ways to stuff your lunch bag and make it easy peasy, and a million different things to put in it. I just know this is a big issue for me and it took me a long time to even get to this point – so I figured I would share. It can be as easy as you want to make it. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Eating regularly and eating mostly healthy food is an absolute must. It’s a foundation block for general health. Without tending to our general health, we are jeopardizing our mental health. And we really don’t need any additional obstacles in that department 😉


6 thoughts on “Packing Lunch, #ADHD-style Part II: What to pack.

  1. Question – how big of a lunch “bag” are we talking here? :-). I’m envisioning a small cooler type deal of which I have two so if that’s what you’re using, then I’m going to be even more confident that this same technique will work for me. I’m on auto pilot when it comes to eating, meaning I’m stuck in a pretty unhealthy and expensive cycle of eating out for lunch daily. Your “toss it in a bag” idea sounds like something I need to follow.

    • YES! Mine is pretty much like this – a roomy tote bag that happens to be insulated: I also have a smaller lunch bag sized bag that I sometimes stuff into the larger bag (like let’s say I have a bottle of ranch dressing to keep cold…I’d stuff it in the there with a small ice pack if I’m feeling organized…or sometimes the small one is handy for when I’m driving around doing errands or just going on a short trip). I can fit a lot in it. A small cooler of some kind could also work just fine, I’d do that. I just happened to have found mine for a good price at a local discount store so that’s what I bought.

  2. Yep. This is pretty much how I pack lunch. Good tips! And hearing it from someone else helps reinforce that I have to do this. Not eating is not an option. I have to eat frequently and in an ideal world healthily. Thanks!

  3. Wow, yes, you’ve expressed exactly the issues I have with food. This is pretty much how I eat, and it’s good to have the reinforcement instead of my frequent self-loathing.

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