10 Tips for Grocery Store Survival with ADHD

10 Tips for Grocery Store Survival with ADHD

I don’t know about you, but a trip to the grocery store is enough to drive me bananas.  In fact, my cupboards and refrigerator are sometimes empty before I finally make a trip to the store.  If you don’t have ADHD or have never been grocery shopping with someone who does, you probably think I’m being a bit dramatic.

I will put you in touch with my husband and daughter.  They have stories to tell of my wandering cart, multiple trips to the same isle for forgotten items, inability to decide on the perfect bag of chips… Yes, I try to keep my typical grocery shopping trips under two hours but sometimes it’s hard.

Turning Over a New Leaf

Since my ADHD diagnosis, I’ve been working on ways to ease the anxiety of grocery shopping by implementing new habits to help me prepare ahead of time and stay focused while I’m in the store. My ultimate ADHD shopping goal: save money, eat healthier, and shop faster. Click To Tweet

Basically, it’s all about planning, which is difficult for me, but I’m getting there.  Slowly, very slowly.

So here they are, my tips for grocery store survival.

 Tips for Grocery Store Survival with ADHD

  1. Prepare a permanent list of items that you need every week.  Liz at A Dose of Healthy Distraction has a great post on How (and Why) to Stock a Pantry.  This is my goal, but I am not there yet.
  2. Write down the approximate cost of your weekly items.  This will help you keep your budget in mind.  I can’t stress the importance of writing down (or typing in if you are using your phone) these numbers.  If you are interested in saving with coupons but hate taking the time to cut them out of the paper, try Checkout51.  It searches for deals near you and reimburses you after you make a purchase.
  3. Make a separate list each week for the additional items that you will need for specific meals, etc.  At some point, I hope to create weekly meal plans, but I am nowhere near that level of organization – yet.
  4. Write down an approximate cost for the items on this secondary list. This will help you stay on target and under budget. I am horrible at this, but I am working on it.  It makes a huge difference- when I actually do it.
  5. Keep these shopping lists with you at all times– either on your phone or in a notebook (I keep mine in my bullet journal – read my previous post on the benefits of bullet journaling).   For those of you who like using your phone for lists, AnyList is a great app for organizing your shopping.
  6. Go to the same store every time.  You know ADHDers, we love to mix things up.  It’s easy to get bored with the same store week after week… If you’re tempted to dump a store for a more exciting one down the street – don’t do it.  Stick with the same routine.
  7. Map out a route.  Once you have a favorite store, take some time to memorize the isles.  Additude Magazine has a great article for tips on grocery shopping that includes a link to the app Big Oven.  This app will organize list items according to isles (for participating stores).  Sweet!
  8. Visit the store during non-peak hours.  As someone who has spent many years working full-time, I know this isn’t always possible, but it is so much easier for the ADHD brain to handle grocery shopping when the store is quiet and empty.  It gives us time and space to focus on the task at hand.
  9. Don’t take your children unless you absolutely have to.  I love my child, but we do not do well together in the grocery store.  I recently broke this rule and regretted it.  Big Time.
  10. Time yourself.  Many ADHDers are time blind (I am).  If you find yourself in this situation, you might want to time how long it takes you to complete a shopping trip.  I have been doing this.  So far, it still takes me a long time.  Maybe I’m destined to be a grocery store wanderer.

Wrapping Up

Let’s face it, grocery shopping is super boring and seriously distracting at the same time. Grocery shopping can be an ADHDer's worst nightmare. Click To Tweet  No wonder a trip to the store causes anxiety and dread.

I’ve learned that planning is definitely the key ingredient.  With a little bit of determination, I have decided that I am going to conquer this grocery store thing.

I know now that if I stick to the 10 tips that work for me, my forays into the grocery store are much more successful, and my blood pressure stays in check, even though I still tend to wander a little.  I also know that if I go in without a plan, all heck breaks loose.  As a result, I’m now much more likely to stick to the plan.

What are some of the ways you manage trips to the grocery store?  Comment below.


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