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Cutting labor in meal preparation is of primary concern for many of us, so If you don't want to cook or you're unable, you don't have to! Not cooking doesn't always mean eating frozen dinners, soup, or fast foods. Convenience foods are readily available these days—not just at Boston Market restaurants, but complete dinner plates from your grocery store's hot bar. Choose from rotisserie-style chicken, pasta, or meat to sandwiches or salads from the salad bar. Deli counters also are greatly improved from years past, and health food grocery stores compete with major grocery chains for the freshest, most convenient gourmet foods. If you're not already familiar, check out Whole Foods and Trader Joes food stores for good, fresh, homemade food. Now you can purchase gourmet, vegetarian, low-fat, or ethnic foods at the grocery store any time.
Grocery Shopping Ideas
If shopping for yourself is not an option, grocery stores do deliver, but you may instead recruit someone from your neighborhood to do weekly shopping. Try calling the student employment office to place an ad at your local junior high, high school, or college. Students are always looking for easy ways to earn money and they'll get to know you and your shopping preferences.
On-line grocery shopping is another good option. If you live in or around Chicago, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, or Philadelphia, Peapod will save you the trouble of shopping, waiting in line and bringing it home. Select all your groceries from your home computer or mobile app. Peapod has various cost-saving plans.
Netgrocer is another national shopping service. Deliveries are made via Federal Express and rates are based on the overall amount of the order. Expect items to be delivered in 3-7 business days.
For the semi-ambulatory shopper, most (but not all) grocery stores now provide scooter-type carts with a seat and large shopping basket. The cart is the only thing that makes grocery-shopping possible for many people. They are lifesavers for someone recovering from knee surgery, as well as those with permanent disabilities, such as M.S. or severe arthritis. Go ahead and request the store's motorized cart. Give yourself a break! You may also request a store employee to walk around with you to reach the higher items, and of course anyone with a visual impairment will be assisted upon request in locating their groceries.
Tips for Managing Fatigue
Pace yourself by resting occasionally or stopping for breaks or lunch. Things will take longer, but at least you'll get it done and you won't be over-stressed.
Drink water or fruit juice. Fruits restore blood sugar levels quickly and give you energy. For this same reason, try to make balanced meals with plenty of fresh or cooked vegetables, protein and grains.
If you're heat sensitive, avoid staying in your kitchen once you've turned the oven on. Do the chopping, peeling or other preparation beforehand or in the dining room.
Chop up a large, multi-portion salad at the beginning of the week and make other courses in bulk. Pasta or a hearty soup are great one-pot meals and very easy, with bread and a salad.
Freeze food in single portions for another time.
Prepare food a day ahead of time when you're expecting company so you're not drained when your guests arrive. Don't be afraid to enlist their help. Friends and family often love to help out while they chat with you in the kitchen!
Let dishes air dry.
Look for time saving recipe books; hundreds of them are written for people with disabilities or even the cook on the go.
Here are a series of tip sheets that address energy management, called a Day in the Life with Autoimmune Arthritis. While the tip sheets target Autoimmune Arthritis, the tips are appropriate for anyone needing to manage energy. The tip sheets include:
Don't forget to eat right in order to have optimum energy. It's easy to do!
Safety in the Kitchen
Whenever possible, wear elbow-length, flame-retardant oven mitts, particularly if you have sensory or visual problems. Otherwise, you may use regular-length, flame-retardant mitts. Avoid using a towel or pot holder to remove something from the oven because your fingers or arm inadvertently may be exposed to a hot surface.
Avoid wearing baggy clothing or loose sleeves around the burners.
Keep flammable objects, such as paper or grease, away from stove.
Be sure to clean grease from oven and burners frequently to prevent grease fires.
Wipe up spills immediately so nobody slips and falls.
Use a stepladder only to reach something up high; do not stand on a chair, especially if you have difficulty balancing.
Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and keep it charged.
Make sure you keep fresh batteries in your smoke alarm; check all batteries in spring and fall when you turn your clocks ahead or back one hour.
Cook Books and Idea Books
Look for mainstream titles that say "quick and easy" for folks with busy lifestyles! Also look for crock-pot cookery and one-pot meals, as well as guides for a week of cooking (or several days), with subsequent shopping lists; they're very practical.
Cooking with Feeling (FEEL): Deborah DeBord. Publisher: National Braille Press, Inc.; 0939173409, available as eBraille to download. A print version is no longer available. Deborah DeBord, an experienced blind cook, shares 180 adaptive culinary techniques for the visually impaired.
Visual Reciples: A Cookbook for Non-Readers by Tabitha Orth. Book has been written for individuals with autism and other developmental disorders.
Let's Cook! Health Meals for Independent Living by Elizabeth D. Riesz, Anne Kissack and 4 more. Book is designed for adults with special needs, for individuals learning English and older adults who need easy-to-read text.
The Kitchen Classroom: 32 Visual GFCF Recipes to Boost Developmental Skills by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer. Book for parents and teachers with 32 quick and tasty gluten-free (GF) and casein-free (CF) recipes.
Cook by Color: Recipes for Independence by Joan E Guthrie Medlen. Designed for teens and adults wtih disabilities.
The Picture Cookbook, No-Cook Recipes for the Special Chef by Joyce Dassonville and Ehren McDow. Books is the first in a series of 4 for special needs including autism.
Mealtime Manual for People with Disabilities and the Aging by Judith L. Klinger. Focuses on hands-on skills, kitchen planning, handling utensils, serving, etc.
Well Aged: Dining with Dignity by Ginny Gordon Walters. Resource guide for anyone caring for an elderly or person with a disability. Contains easy-to-prepare, easy-to-handle, and easy-to-chew recipes.
Eat Right for Your Sight: Simple, Tasty Recipes that Help Reduce the Risk of Vision Loss from Macular Degeneration by Jennifer Trainer Thompson. Contains 85 recipes rich in the nutrients that fight acular degeneration.
Visionary Kitchen: A Cookbook for Eye Health by Sandra Young OD. Contains low glycemic impact recipes
The See-Easy Large Print Cookbook by Elinor O'Grady. All pages produced in 24 pt type.
Jumbo Print Cookbook by Friends of the Center for the Blind in 36 point 1/2 inch type, on Amazon.
Cookbook Mate for the Blind and Sighted by Barbara Rogers, on Amazon.
When the Cook Can't Look: A Cooking Handbook for the Blind and Visually Impaired, by Ralph Read, on Amazon. Also available in Braille and large type on Amazon.
Note: Infinitec Inc. does not endorse or recommend these products and has no liability for the results of their use. Infinitec Inc. has received no consideration of any type for featuring any product on this Web site. The information offered herein is a summary; it is not comprehensive and should be carefully evaluated by consumers with the assistance of qualified professionals. The intention of Infinitec Inc. is to offer consumers a brief overview of various assistive technology devices and their applications.