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Kitchen Tips and Tools ActiveWellness

How kitchen gadgets and organization can help make cooking with MS easier.

Keeping your kitchen organized and making some small adjustments can make a big difference in maximizing your time and energy when cooking. Use helpful kitchen gadgets to make chopping and stirring less of a chore. They can even make cooking more fun. This section will give you tips and hints that can help simplify your experience in the kitchen.

 
Kitchen Tips and Techniques Dietitian Julie Barto and MS expert Colleen Miller show how to make cooking easier for people with MS.
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Ways to better organize your kitchen

Watch the cutting.
Slicing and dicing meat or vegetables when you have MS can be challenging. But you can purchase pre-cut foods, like carrots, salads and poultry. Or you can use kitchen gadgets that make chopping and dicing easier. You can always ask a friend or family member to help, too.

Secure your cutting board.
This keeps it from slipping when you're slicing, dicing and grating. A non-slip mat or wet towel under the board works well.

Keep your cool.
If you're sensitive to heat, keep a fan in the kitchen to keep cool. Don't bake something hot at the end of the day or during the summer. Use the microwave—it makes meal prep faster and will not aggravate your heat sensitivity. Be careful washing dishes with hot water. You may even consider using paper plates for easier clean up.

Go electric.
Electric appliances (food processors, blenders, mixers and can-openers) are easier on your hands than manual ones.

Make things more accessible.
Place frequently used appliances (toasters, food processors and blenders) on your counter top. Or keep utensils, pots and pans on a pegboard.

Minimize back-and-forth.
If you have space, keep duplicate sets of measuring spoons and cups, condiments, and pots and pans on opposite sides of the kitchen.

Place a stool near your counter top.
It's easier when you can sit during food prep.

De-clutter.
Go through your kitchen and purge all the old pots, pans and utensils you don't use.

Kitchen gadgets you may find helpful

Buy ergonomic kitchen gadgets.
Brands like OXO, Michael Graves and Meno Kitchen Tools design their products for people with MS or arthritis, as well as others with impaired ability. These gadgets are easier to use because they fit more comfortably in your hand, so they require less pressure and reduce strain.

Adapt your own kitchen utensils.
If price is an issue, wrap big rubber bands around the handles of kitchen utensils as well as drinking glasses for a better grip.

Go to the mat.
Place a non-skid mat under bowls and plates.

Put sugar in a salt shaker.
This reduces the weight, waste and spills from sugar bowls.

Reach for a long-arm grabbing tool.
This instrument can make it easier to grab things that are high in kitchen cabinets.

Replace your napkin with a dishtowel or kitchen rag.
They're bigger, more absorbent, easier to hold, and are less likely to fall on the ground.

Make opening jars a snap.
Place a 5˝x5˝ rubberized waffle-like sheet over the jar. Or wear a rubber glove before you twist.

Line your cooking pans with aluminum foil.
Cleaning becomes much easier.

Own pots and pans with two handles.
This reduces kitchen accidents and injury by more evenly distributing the weight between both hands and wrists.

Top kitchen utensils that cut prep time in half:

  • Kitchen timer with large dial
  • Food processor
  • Slow cooker
  • Large handled ladles and serving spoons
  • Food chopper
  • Easy-to-grip scissors
  • Electric can opener
  • Easy-to-grip spatula
  • Ergonomic kitchen knives

General kitchen tips

Delegate kitchen roles.
Instead of taking on the entire cooking and cleaning burden, share jobs with your children and spouse. This gives everyone more ownership of the meals, promotes family unity and teaches your children valuable cooking skills.

Make leftovers.
Double your recipe, creating extra meals for yourself and your family. Put the leftovers in plastic containers or food-savers that are easy to open.

Use recyclable plastic or paper plates when entertaining.
They are lighter to carry and make clean up a snap.

Fill a pot with water after it is already on the stove.
When boiling water, put an empty pot on the stove, then fill it up a little at a time using a smaller pot.

For more advice, you may find the book 300 Tips for Making Life Easier by Shelley Peterman Schwarz helpful.

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