Who doesn’t want to have a healthy meal for their family on the dinner table every night? This isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do for parents with a disability for multiple reasons. One of the main concerns I’ve heard people talk about is the limited income most people with disabilities have to purchase food. More times than not fast food like what can be found on the McDonalds Value Menu or similar fast food restaurant choices are what people flock to when they find themselves on a limited budget. Though these aren’t obviously the healthiest choices, they’re what literally fit the bill more times than not. It’s not totally impossible to make healthier and easier food choices available to yourself and your family with out feeling like you have to settle on what you’re eating everyday.
Here are some ideas to make that thought a reality for your family. There are some great resources hidden at your local grocery store. In an effort to share some ideas, the first thing that’s important is having techniques for stretching your budget where it might be possible. My first suggestion is looking through sale ads from your local store and utilizing coupons whenever you can. Also, meal planning for a week can help minimize impulse buying while food shopping. Additionally, using buy one, get one free sales, if your store offers them might also be helpful. The time spent planning a grocery list will certainly pay off in the long run. It’s always cool to watch food demonstrations on television or even at my local grocery store. The only problem was I always wondered how I’d be able to cut meat in certain ways so that it could fit a particular recipe. Believe it or not, I recently found that my local grocery store’s meat department has employees there that can cut up the meat I buy however I need it before I even take it to the checkout line. Prepackaged fruits like cut up apples or even frozen vegetables are a healthy choice that make it a breeze to cook most any meal. If these options weren’t available for me, it would not only be very difficult for me to use certain items in my favorite recipes, but also have them available with such ease for my son as an after school snack.
Secondly, there’s the ever present issue of compensating for the limitations presented by someone’s disability. Having limited use of my left hand, while I’ve always loved watching the Food Network on television, I have to admit the idea of cooking used to be a bit intimidating to me. I’ve never really considered myself much of a food enthusiast, but, once I started living alone and trying to figure out what I’d be cooking for each meal, I had to seriously think about how I was going to become self-sufficient in the kitchen. One of my Occupational therapists had introduced me to a Rocker knife a long time ago. This opened the door to me becoming more independent in cutting my own food. That might sound like a small feat to some, but for someone, who even as a teenager needed someone to cut her meat for her, it actually gave me the freedom to have one more thing I could accomplish on my own. Once I became a mom, it surprisingly opened more doors for me. It allowed me the ability to care for my son more independently. Now, I use my rocker knife on a regular basis to cut my son’s food into bite sized pieces so he can feed himself.
In addition to rocker knives, there are also other pieces of equipment available. Special cutting boards, jar openers, electric can openers, talking food thermometers and Braille measuring cups are just a few examples of technology that make cooking easier. These items are fairly inexpensive and easy to find on the internet. There are also ways to make your kitchen more accessible to your particular needs. Things like ADA compliant stoves, ovens and microwaves are available for purchase too. As a result of making these small changes, the possibilities can be endless in the food options you’re able to offer your loved ones. Putting all of these components together makes it easier to provide our families with healthy and delicious meals every night of the week.