Healthy dishes that are easy to make for those with low mobility
29th August 2018
Cooking is a beautiful passion, a great way for someone to look after their body and indulge in a creative hobby. However, for those with low mobility, perhaps who rely on home-helps like home stair lifts or disability rails, it can be a little harder. This article not only looks at some fantastic healthy dishes that are easy to make for anyone, but it also offers a few tips on how to cook with low mobility.
A few tips for cooking with low mobility:
Utilise wall space
Utilise wall space as well as cupboard space. Instead of leaving heavy pots, pans, trays or ingredients on low or high shelves, mount them on the wall using hooks or keep them on shelves that are on your level and easy to reach.
Make cupboards easier to reach
It can be a struggle rummaging through cupboards looking for a particular spice or ingredient. To combat this there are pull-down or slide out baskets that make organisation much easier. These baskets can be installed into your current cupboards but will allow you to pull your ingredients down easily, making finding what you need easy.
Make sure you have the right equipment
It’s important to know the kitchen equipment you have is right for you. Having the best equipment, like sharp knives and slow cookers, means when it comes to making a recipe you won’t struggle to make it work with blunt/broken tools.
We spoke to Jess, who is known online as Plucky. She blogs on Plucky’s Second Thoughts and mainly focuses on DIY, crafting and recipes. Her top advice was all about finding the right equipment for the job, and for you: “Find tools and devices that make it easy for you to get the job done. Whether it's slow cookers/crockpots/pressure cookers/instant pots so you don't have to stand very long, electric skillets so you can set the height at your level, sharp knives that allow you to cut ingredients fast, or even ‘semi-homemade’ recipes that use already partially created items, so you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen.”
Move your oven
For someone with the funds, moving an oven off the floor and to body-height can make it easier to load and unload whilst cooking, and means that the oven is closer to the countertop for putting heavy objects down faster. This is especially good for those who struggle with bending down. For those who are limited to perhaps a wheelchair or scooter, it will mean not having to lift a hot and potentially heavy tray up so far when removing from the oven.
When it comes to moving an oven, utilising wall space and making cupboards easier to reach, the main result is that you’ll have everything in reaching distance. Elizabeth Layman, project manager at the World Institute of Disability spoke more about how useful this can be: “Being able to reach and find your favourite tools and cooking items makes food preparation more appealing and fun. Think: ‘What will make commonly needed items easier and faster to reach?’ For example, leave tools, seasonings, and pans out and reachable so you don’t have to search in drawers or pull them out of cabinets. Dry goods can go into easy-open canisters, fresh veggies into accessible hanging wire baskets, spices on a wall-mounted spice rack, and pots and pans on a pegboard. You can also use a grabber to get some items out of the freezer or from shelves.”
Pre-prepared food is just as good
Often people shy away from prepared frozen food liked chopped onions or vegetables as they can see it is lower quality than fresh. This, however, is simply not the case and this pre-prepared food is a great way for people to limit the amount of chopping they have to do when cooking. We spoke to Urvashi, a food blogger at Two Sleevers, who has rheumatoid arthritis. She spoke to us about more about this: “Recognize that frozen vegetables that are pre-chopped are every bit as delicious and nutritious as fresh ones - perhaps even better than fresh veggies, and there's no need to peel, cut, and clean up with those.”
Urvashi also added: “I find that the easiest way to cook on days that I am struggling with energy or pain, is to use my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I also look for pour-and-cook types of recipes on those days.” Urvashi has over 200 pour-and-cook recipes on her blog, perfect for instant pot cooking, one of which will be shared later in this piece.
Breakfast dishes that are easy to make for those with low mobility:
Slow-cooker apple and cinnamon overnight oats
This slow-cooker overnight oats recipe from Meals Our Kids Love is great for anyone who struggles to get their muscles working in the morning but loves to wake up to a delicious breakfast. Once you’ve perfected this with apple and cinnamon try changing them out for other fruits and seasonings.
Ingredients: 2 tbsps butter, 90g porridge oats, 700ml milk, 2 -3 tbsps brown sugar (optional), ½ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 large apples, peeled, cored and cubed.
Method: Use the butter to grease the inside of your slow cooker. Pour in all of the ingredients (except your apple) and give a stir until combined. Add the apples and turn your slow cooker on low for 7 hours.
After 7 hours scoop into a bowl and enjoy.
Smashed avocado and a fried egg on toast
Egg on toast is a delicious and simple breakfast but a great way to upgrade it and add a bit of flair is to add smashed avocado to the dish. The creamy and healthy addition will bring new textures to the simple breakfast and a new flavour.
Ingredients: 1 slice of your preferred bread (toasted), one egg, ½ an avocado.
Method: Cut your ripe avocado in half. A good way to check if your avocado is ripe is to feel for the texture, if it feels soft when pushed slightly it should be good to cut. Twist to separate the two halves and carefully remove the stone (this can be done easily with a spoon.) Now use that spoon to scoop out the avocado from one half and place it into a bowl, don’t worry about being gentle as you’ll be mashing it anyway. Once it’s all out, use the back of your spoon and press down until the avocado becomes spreadable.
Start frying the egg. As the egg is frying spread the avocado onto your toast. Top with the egg once cooked and dig in.
For spice lovers: Adding a few chilli flakes on top will give this dish a lovely kick.
Lunch dishes that are easy to make for those with low mobility:
Baby tomato, pesto and prosciutto tart
This simple tart from Scrummy Lane is a quick and easy recipe that can make days’ worth of lunches. It requires very little intense kitchen work but creates a delicious and light lunch option.
Ingredients: 1 sheet of store-bought puff pastry, 2/3 cup ricotta cheese, zest of 1 lemon, salt & pepper (to taste), pesto, 7 ounces halved cherry tomatoes, 3 ounces of prosciutto, fresh basil, olive oil for drizzling.
Method: Preheat your oven to 200˚c. Place your pastry on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Score the edges slightly with a knife. Combine the ricotta cheese with lemon zest and salt and pepper, leave to one side. Bake the pastry for 5 minutes and then push the centre of your tart down with a spoon. Add your topping, first the ricotta, then small spoonfuls of pesto and finally the tomatoes. Bake for a further 10 minutes. Add the prosciutto, drizzle the olive oil and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the tart is golden and puffy. Remove from the oven, slice to serve and finish with basil leaves.
Cheese, chutney and apple pittas
For a quick and simple lunch, and a new take on an old classic, cheese and chutney pitta breads are perfect. They can be customised in many ways but still taste delicious. This recipe is from Daises and Pie.
Ingredients: 2 pittas, 2 slices of your preferred cheese, 1 apple (sliced) juice of half a lemon, 2 tsps chutney. Optional: You can add lettuce leaves as well if you’d like.
Method: Lightly toast the pitta breads, then split them in half and leave to cool. Toss your apple slices in the juice of your lemon. Fill your pitta breads with your ingredients.
Make the pittas your own: Daisies and Pie suggest making the recipe your own by switching the cheese to cream cheese, switching the chutney for peanut butter, trying pear slices instead of apple or even adding some sliced ham or crispy bacon!
Dinner dishes that are easy to make for those with low mobility:
Two Sleevers creamy chicken soup
This creamy chicken soup can be cooked in an instant pot or a slow cooker and is a delicious and warming dish that can be made with all kinds of ingredients, depending on what you have in the freezer.
Ingredients: 1 -pound diced chicken thighs, 10-ounces chopped frozen vegetables (of your choice), 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, chicken stock, 1 teaspoon salt, 1-2 teaspoons pepper, 4-ounces evaporated milk.
Method: For the full detailed method and instructions, take a look at the recipe on Two Sleevers blog which contains images, nutritional facts and more.
Pluckys Ham and cheese sliders
This ham and cheese slider recipe comes from Jess at Plucky’s Second Thought and is a great quick and easy make for when you have guests or what something warm and cheesy.
Ingredients: 1 pack of rolls, 18 slices (approx.) of your chosen ham, thinly sliced, 8 slices (approx.) of your favourite cheese, 5 tbsp butter, ½ tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 3 tsp brown sugar, ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce, ¼ tsp salt, poppy seeds.
Method: Treat the whole production process as if you were making one huge sandwich, as you will end up slicing it into individual sandwiches just before serving. Slice the whole package rolls in half lengthwise (without breaking them apart) and lay the bottom half in on a baking tray. Evenly cover in ham and them cheese, coating completely. Then top with the other top half of the rolls. Prepare your sauce by heating butter, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder and salt in a small pan. Whisk until smooth and melted. Drizzle this over the rolls evenly. Finally, sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180˚c. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes longer to toast the top of your buns. Pull them sliders apart and serve.
Toad in the hole
This toad in the hole recipe comes from BBC Good Food. A simple, traditional dish that is perfect for warming your cockles on a cool evening.
Ingredients: 12 chipolatas, 1 tbsp sunflower oil, 140g plain flour, ½ tsp salt, 2 eggs, 175ml semi-skimmed milk.
Method: Heat your oven to 220˚c. Put the sausages in a roasting tin with the oil, then bake for 15 minutes until browned. Meanwhile, make your batter by pouring the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into here. Using an electric whisk mix together and then slowly add the milk whilst whisking. Remove the roasting tray from the oven, and very carefully pour the batter mixture over. Then cook for a further 25-30 minutes, until risen and golden.
Serve: Serve with gravy and broccoli for a beautiful warming dinner.
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