Cooking with a physical impairment is difficult to say the least. The pain and fatigue of cooking makes you want to order out everyday but that is expensive. To help everyone with an impairment of any kind out there. Here are 5 techniques to ease pain and fatigue in the kitchen so you can save money.
- Meal Planning- You have to take the time to plan out your meals in order to be the most efficient. First plan out your weekly menu with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Plan the ingredients and in which order to cook your meals so that you can organize your ingredients in order that you will use them.
- Task planning- plan out the tasks involved by looking at the recipes in advance. Group tasks together like, cut all vegetables, grate all cheese, and so forth. You can either do all of one task at one time or do 2 or 3 tasks in short increments, switching between them all. It is easier to have everything chopped up before you start cooking. Chop once and then put servings per recipe in Ziploc bags, labeled, so you can just grab each ingredient as needed.
- Organize your pantry and refrigerator- Again, you want to organize your ingredients by the order that you will use them with frequently used ingredients in front, then second and so forth. That way you are not digging around to find something.
In order to keep cooking regularly without pain and fatigue in the kitchen, you will need to make adjustments. Like sitting to chop veggies or using the dining table for food prep. Use a chair for chopping and stirring things. Use the bottom cabinets for the most used nonperishable ingredients and utensils.
- Buy smaller ingredients. As cost efficient as buying in bulk can be maneuvering a gallon of milk is more difficult than a ½ gallon. Buy the small containers of butter, loaf of bread, small packages of pasta, etc. The smaller ones are easier to grab and move wherever.
- Sanitation- Use a big bowl for all trash so you only have to travel to the trash once. Keep a box of gloves where you prep food, so you don’t have to wash your hands as much or use the sanitizing hand wipes [LINK] to reduce going to the sink all the time.
You can use adaptive utensils to help make cooking easier. There is a mandolin slicer or a food processor. Those are obvious but did you know that there is a whole world of adaptive utensils? I didn’t until I read an article on Kitchn called Cooking with a Physical Disability. On the freebie you can get below, I listed different adaptive tools that are available plus some handy kitchen storage and organizing items. It is not an extensive list, but it is a good starting place.
- Look for easier versions of the recipes you use. That way, there is less ingredients and less time to make a meal.
- Always have a few quick and simple meals for days you don’t have the energy or ability to cook.
- Prepackaged foods always help. You can buy pre-shredded cheese already cut up fruits and vegetables and cans of sauces.
- You don’t have to cook every meal. As lovely as cooking a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner sounds. It is not very feasible. Your breakfast can consist of cereal, frozen waffles or microwavable bacon. Lunches can be sandwiches, canned soups or leftovers from last night’s dinner (like my household). Even if all your dinners are frozen skillet meals, its okay. We all want fresh cooked meals but sometimes our bodies just won’t allow it. Don’t get me wrong, cooking meals with fresh ingredients are always best. I’m just saying that we all have good disability days and bad disability days and on the bad days, it doesn’t hurt to have some open up and heat up kind of foods.
5) Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to delegate cooking tasks or ask someone for help. If you can have a family member do some of the more difficult tasks it would make cooking easier. Or if you can, have someone come over once a week to help you with meal prep. Don’t feel bad for needing help. Everybody needs help sometimes and you could always do something in return for the assistance.
I hope these five techniques to ease pain and fatigue in the kitchen. If you have any other tips to make cooking easier, comment below. I would love to hear them!