Cooking with a disability
Posted by: the personal injury help and advice team
Cooking with a physical impairment can present various challenges and ultimately dissuade somebody with a disability from cooking. Although not all disabilities are the same, the personal injury help and advice team have looked into how cooking with a disability can be made a little easier.
Meals are notoriously difficult to plan ahead. Do you really know where you’re going to be from one day to the next, or know enough in advance to defrost the chicken hidden at the back of the freezer?
Our biggest recommendation would be to ensure there are always store cupboard foods available for times of crisis, cancelled plans or simply because you might not feel like cooking one evening; cooking is tiring and time consuming without facing challenges of a physical disability, so make sure you take rest when you’re feeling tired.
Plan if you can
As previously mentioned, it’s not always easy to plan ahead as things always cropping up and plans can often change. However if you know you’ll be eating at home on a particular night or if you’re having guests over for dinner, planning will help to save time, hassle and money.
Ensure you have every ingredient needed for your recipe, because if not, this can cause a delay or leave you without anything to eat. It’s a good idea to gather all ingredients needed first, to save you looking for something further down the line.
Accessibility is key
Consider where you store things in your kitchen; heavy items should be stored at arms’ height, not high above your head or low down. Organising your kitchen to suit your accessibility needs will ease the cooking process – remember, cooking should be enjoyable and not stressful.
Mix it up
Although it might seem sensible to peel all of the vegetables together, this requires a repetitive motion and using the same muscles for a long period of time. Mix things up, peeling for a short period of time and then move on to chopping before going back to peeling. This will save your muscles from straining.
Don’t cook in bulk
Cooking bulk quantities can be efficient, but it is not recommended when cooking with a disability. It’s better to leave the bulk cooking until you have help available. Cooking one or two meals at a time will help to prevent fatigue and muscle strain.
Enjoy the process
Cooking can be therapeutic if done right. Help to take the stress out of cooking with a disability by following our steps above. But above all, enjoy the experience.
Of course there are certain kitchen designs that cater to cooking with a disability and worktops can be adapted to suit different heights for people who may have limitations in standing and need to use a wheelchair, but these often come with a high price tag attached.
Please note that this article was produced by The Personal Truths team as information only and should not be regarded as expert or medical advice.