Top 5 Kitchen Organization Tips for a Stress-Free Diet for ADHD, Autism, and Allergies

Being organized and efficient in the kitchen is a must for stress-free maintenance of a special diet for autism, ADHD, or food allergies.

When things get out of hand and chaos takes over, it’s not nice working in the kitchen. You are more likely to avoid it and run to the nearest restaurant, ‘fast food service’ or pre-made processed foods.

When it comes to food restrictions due to allergies or intolerances, those conveniences are not an option. And when you have allergen-free options, they’re still less healthy than home-cooked meals with a higher risk of cross-contamination.

Here is my list of the top 5 tips to keep your kitchen and pantry organized and clean:

  1. Keep a shelf or place in the pantry, refrigerator, or cabinets designated for allergen-free food and utensils only. This helps avoid mix-ups with other household members, saves time searching for items, and prevents cross-contamination with food that doesn’t belong. *Especially important if you live in a household with mixed diets!
  2. Place appliances and utensils where they are used most in the kitchen for convenience. For example, I keep my juicer and blender near my sink for quick and easy cleanup. It is easier to use these items for green juices and smoothies when they are ready to use. I have a strainer/basket that hangs in the sink. I rinse the juicer parts after use, put them in the basket to dry, and simply place the basket in the cabinet to store once dry, while the main unit of the juicer sits on my counter. You are much less likely to use these appliances when they are stored away and out of sight.
  3. Put the foods you want to eat less of in hard-to-reach places. Better yet, get rid of them entirely. Not ready to do a full clean or do you have a family member who still eats them? Place things like snacks and candy on the highest shelf in the pantry or in the back of the top cabinet. Maybe even move them to a garage space! Do whatever it takes to make healthy more convenient.
  4. Label everything. Even if you have a designated storage location for allergen-free foods, it’s still a good idea to label everything to avoid mix-ups. If someone absentmindedly puts an item in the wrong place, you can catch the mistake by having the food labeled. For example, if everyone eats almond butter, but not everyone in the household is gluten-free, you’ll want a jar of almond butter that is gluten-free so kids don’t contaminate the jar with bread crumbs. Keeping it labeled and teaching everyone in the household what that label means will prevent accidental ingestion of food and keep you organized.
  5. Keep clean. It’s hard to keep up with the chores and kids, I know! But, if you can keep one thing down, I recommend keeping your kitchen clean. As a mother of 4 young children, personally speaking, I can’t handle everything on my own. But I must keep my kitchen clean. If I get into a mess, it makes me want to get out. You can’t cook and prepare food if the counters are messy and dirty dishes are everywhere. This is the only place I have to take responsibility for keeping it clean. The only time I leave dishes in the sink overnight is if the dishwasher is full and running and I’ll be putting them in first thing in the morning.

Try to hand wash dishes that don’t go in the dishwasher, wipe down all surfaces, and sweep the floor every night. Taking the time to prepare for breakfast or school meals will also make your morning a lot easier. It doesn’t have to be Martha Stewart, but a clean and inviting kitchen is a great motivator to cook healthy!

Set aside some time, maybe a morning while the kids are at school or an evening while they’re with dad or grandma. Go through and take out what you won’t be using anymore, and then follow these tips to reorganize everything that will stay. Once the initial makeover is done, maintenance is easy. And it will also make your life much easier!

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