It’s much easier to maintain a healthy diet when you cook yourself. However, Parkinson’s symptoms can often make doing so challenging and exhausting. Thankfully, smart planning can help you fall in love with cooking again. Mentioned below are some tools and tricks that can help you cook healthy, tasty meals safely and easily.
As a thumb rule, don’t be tempted to do something you are not physically comfortable with. The key is being safe and knowing your limitations.
Get the area arranged as per your needs
Rearrange cupboards to put commonly used items within reach so that you don’t have to stretch or bend. Store spices and seasonings in containers with flip-tops or other easy-open configurations. Adaptations that are helpful include replacing knob-style with lever-style kitchen faucets, cabinet handles, and drawer pulls and removing throw rugs that can be tripping hazards.
Arrange your sink on one side and oven on the other. It is also wise to get a mirror installed above the stove so that it can reflect the contents of pots and pans. This will help you to see what’s cooking.
Use adaptive cooking equipment
Some of the handy supplies can cut down on frustration and ensure that you can cook safely. To start with, replace old kitchen gadgets and utensils with the ones with cushioned handle grips. A food processor (with large, easy to push buttons), crockpot, and bread-making machine simplify preparation and cooking tasks that require physical dexterity or strength. It is also recommended to use:
- A Pan Handle Stabilizer can be a great tool to stir in a stable position.
- A rocker knife to use less energy than that required with a straight knife.
- A chopping board with spikes to stabilize vegetables for chopping and slicing.
- A Clamp-On to move the vegetable up against the blade.
- Electric Can Openers to open cans.
- Electric Knife to make cutting bread or carving roasts easier.
- Angled Measuring Cups to read measurement markings by looking straight down into the cup.
- Cut-resistant gloves to be safe.
Take it easy
As you may experience trouble multitasking, it is wise to choose recipes that don’t require you to prepare two different parts at the same time. This way, you won’t have to worry about checking the oven while you’re in the middle of stirring a dish on the burner.
Sit in a chair at the height of your kitchen counter. With all your equipment, utensils and ingredients in front of you, you can wash vegetables. Chop, mix and put food in the oven.
Use the back burners for cooking and keep pot handles turned inward. While you cook, keep sharp objects like knives in special holders or in a drawer. Ask your caregiver to clean up spills instantly from floor to avoid fall. If you are an independent Parkinson’s fighter, use a long-handled sponge or mop for quick clean up.
Adopt to your energy level
Take your caregiver’s help with any prep work that you might be finding physically challenging. Ask them to chop or peel difficult items. Parkinson’s symptoms often vary from day to day, so it’s handy to freeze extra servings and have quick meals on hand. A side-by-side refrigerator will make accessing frozen foods much easier. If you wish to cook daily, here is how you can combat fatigue in Parkinson’s.
Caution: In the early and middle stages of the disease, moderate adaptations can allow you to function independently in the kitchen. However, working with a variety of tool and handling hot or sharp objects in the kitchen can be dangerous, specially when you are completely dependent on your caregiver. Do not attempt cooking if your doctor advises you otherwise.