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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Accessibility in the kitchen

Research indicates that people who cook more meals at home, rather than eating out or grabbing take-out, have a healthier diet and lower risk of chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes. However, cooking at home for someone with limited mobility, disability, injury, or health conditions, such as arthritis, can be a struggle. Here are some tips and tools to still make cooking an enjoyable and healthful experience. 

Shopping for groceries can be tiring and not everyone can maneuver a shopping cart or reach ingredients on store shelves. Grocery store delivery services can save the hassle of making a trip to the store while allowing more time to read nutrition labels online and make healthy choices. For those with decreased hand mobility or low vision, consider purchasing pre-cut or pre-sliced produce and meats to avoid having to use knives. For times where cutting and slicing is necessary, look for adaptive equipment to help, such as a rocker knife and pronged cutting boards. There is a long list of other adaptive kitchen equipment that might be useful, like electric can openers and ring pull-tab openers, which can help lift and pull the top off many canned goods, including soup. 

Remodeling a kitchen to be more accessible may not be an option for everyone. Consider easy and budget friendly modifications, such as removing throw rugs, which have the potential to cause one to trip and fall. Install under cabinet lighting to enhance visibility; self-adhesive lights make for simple installation. If standing for long periods of time is difficult, take frequent breaks, or place a chair with locking wheels and height adjustment in the kitchen so that one can sit down while using the stovetop, prepping food at the counter, or washing dishes in the sink. 

Choose easy recipes that don’t have sixteen steps and utilize small appliances, such as an air fryer or slow cooker, to produce easy, flavorful meals. Leave appliances on the counter so they don’t need to be put away after each use. Look for resources in the community to help you become more independent, such as Centers for Independent Living. Also, occupational or physical therapists may provide assessment and individualized recommendations. Asking for help is not a weakness but can actually be a springboard to independence. 


Klein L, Parks K. Home Meal Preparation: A Powerful Medical Intervention. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2020 Mar 1;14(3):282-285. 
National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability. 

About the Author


Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond.