Nutrition: Back to School and Work with ADHD: Supplies to Equip You or Your Child with for the Fall Semester

Ah, Autumn. The leaves begin fall, apple orchards open for business, and we all return to school or work for yet another year. To help you prepare for the upcoming months, here is a list of supplies that will encourage productivity and keep your frolicking monkey mind at bay:
Alarm Clock (and other Apps!)
How could any of us stay on schedule without an alarm clock to wake us in time for class or an 8a.m. meeting? In addition to setting your alarm the night before, make sure to allow enough time to get ready and prepare for the day ahead so that you don’t jet out the door with the stove burner still on (I’ve done that…).

An ADHD friendly alarm clock named Clocky, a quirky device reminiscent of Disney’s WALL-E, rolls away from your bedside to keep you from hitting the snooze button. 

Study Station
Having a quiet, tidy place to focus is imperative for those of us with ADHD. Of course, the library is an excellent option, but the disadvantage there is that you may be distracted by friends and neighbors. For example, while at Colby College, Miller Library was the social hub of campus. To avoid socializing away the hours that I should be studying, I tucked myself into Miller’s 3rd floor (a terrifying idea for many students!), which was unofficially considered a quiet space.

In your own home, designate a desk or table where you can accomplish your work without interruption. If this study station is in your bedroom, you can even hang a sign on the door to let family members know when you’re trying to concentrate. This is an excellent visual cue to help them remember to be quiet and respectful.

Once you finish each assignment, return your work to your backpack to avoid leaving it behind. Like when we leave the stove on, those of us with ADHD can be as absentminded as fruit flies, but little tricks like this one can help to ease the negative consequences. Another helpful strategy is to plan ahead…
A windowsill is an excellent alternative to a traditional desk.
I’ve kept a planner since grade school. Planners that display your week at a glance help prepare you for the day ahead, but to plan out which responsibilities to tackle first. Come Friday, you can also turn the page and survey the week to come to anticipate any looming deadlines. A technique that helped me to visualize my subjects while in school was to designate a color of pen for each subject. By using this technique, you’ll see when to anticipate a week filled with homework, papers, or tests that are more difficult for you.

Although designed to keep you on task, like a journal, these records of life are also neat to look back on years later to remember where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished.

For the techno-savvy ADHD’r, here are also a handful of helpful applications for iPhones and Droids to keep you focused and on schedule throughout the day: 6 Super ADHD-friendly iPhone Apps For Adults With ADHD.
I never go anywhere without some sort of squirrel snacks in tow (a granola bar, apple, nuts, chopped veggies…). If you’re anything like me, the best way to turn your wandering monkey mind into a snarly badger mind is to forget to eat. Sometimes we ADHD’rs get so involved in the activity/ies at hand that we simply forget to nosh and then our blood sugar drops along with our ability to focus. Pack yourself a snack each day just in case one of these spells takes hold of you. Some healthy and natural options include:
Celery and Peanut Butter (with or without raisins!)
A childhood classic, this to-go snack is delicious with any kind of nutty butter (peanut, sunflower, almond, cashew…).

Granola bars
Just make sure they don’t include high fructose corn syrup. You can also compare labels for higher protein options. Our friend Chocolate Covered Katie, who I chatted with about her homemade recipes in “ADHD & Nutrition: Talking Recipes with Chocolate Covered Katie,” also offers a delicious recipe: Quaker-Style Chewy Granola Bars.

Raw, unsalted nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts.
High in fiber, protein, and “good” fats.

Roasted chickpeas
Here’s a quick and easy recipe from our gal Oprah: Roasted Chickpea recipe.

Kale Chips
Yes, you’ll have to take a leap of faith with me on this one, but these low calorie, high protein snacks are a delicious alternative to potato chips. Here’s a quick and easy recipe from HungryGirl.com: Baked Kale.
If you’re curious about the ways our bodies thrive on proteins, fish, flax, fatty acids and the like, check out this post: “The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony & the ADHD Diet.” 

Another helpful article from Livestrong.com offers ADHD’rs advice on how to optimize your energy and focus by maintaining a high protein diet, “ADHD High Protein Diet.”
How do you prepare for a new fall semester? Are there any tools or tips that you can share with your fellow ADHD’rs?

Happy Fall to one and all!