In a society where technology is taking over and simplicity is what everyone is aiming for, cooking is not always a top priority. From take out to dining out to frozen pizzas, sometimes we simply don’t feel like cooking. There are numerous apps available that allow you to order food and deliver straight to your door in a few clicks. However, ordering take out all the time becomes expensive and not all of us can afford to do this. Ordering food from restaurants can also be unhealthy. Although there are more healthy option restaurants available, it is easier to make unhealthy decisions when looking at a menu that offers mozzarella sticks or pork lo Mein.
Individuals living with a disability or chronic disease require convenience and simplicity. Cooking does not have to be dreadful or a chore but more of a social and leisure activity. Cooking allows you to have control of what you feed your body and make healthier options. A healthy well-balanced diet is especially important when living with a chronic disease such as COPD, arthritis, or heart disease. Cooking healthy meals can be achieved by following some of these simple energy conservation tips:
Buy pre-cut vegetables
Grocery stores across the country offer a variety of pre-cut vegetables and fruit in the produce section. Although this option may be a few more dollars, it cuts down cooking time tremendously and helps to conserve energy. If your grocery store does not provide this option, buying frozen vegetables is another smart option. In fact, studies have shown that frozen fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones. Therefore, you do not have to worry about missing out on key nutrients.
Plan your meals
Planning your meals for the week is a helpful way to prevent indecisiveness and staying on track. You can also plan for leftovers which saves money and extra time in the kitchen. Keeping track of your meals for the week in a journal or calendar is easy and time-saving. This will also help you make healthier choices when planning out your meals by keeping a visual tab on everything you eat and staying away from that take out menu. Meal planning allows you to prepare meals ahead of time so they are even easier to cook when you are ready to eat. I’ve been loving this magnetic meal planner and grocery list pad.
Use a Crock pot
Crock pot meals make dining in so much easier. You simply place all the ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning, set the timer, and voilà! By 5’oclock your dinner is ready to eat. There are many options available but here is one crock pot that is very affordable. There are so many healthy recipes you can make with a crock pot that require minimal effort. Crock pots also allow you cook a large quantity of food at once which will provide leftovers for lunch and dinner throughout the week.
Prepare breakfast the day before
Have you ever heard of overnight oats? These are a game-changer for busy mornings. Here is one of my favorite recipes. You can combine all of the ingredients the night before, store in a mason jar, place in the fridge and then grab and go in the morning. There is no cooking required. This is a healthy option that provides long-lasting energy throughout the day. Another option for preparing breakfast ahead of time is to bake egg muffins. These can be cooked over the weekend or during your free time and then stored in the fridge or freezer for a quick and easy breakfast. Check out SkinnyTaste’s loaded baked omelet muffin recipe.
Invest in Adaptive Equipment
Adaptive equipment will not only make cooking easier, but also increase independence. With the right adaptive tools, you will not have to rely as much on others to contribute to your meal preparation. Equipment that can help conserve energy may include easy-grip jar openers, light weight plates, and a rocker knife. These items can be used by individuals with poor dexterity, decreased grip strength, and hemiplegia.
*Please be advised, if you have a loved one with a severe cognitive impairment, assistance may be required to ensure safety.
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