12 Tips to Simplify Cooking with Multiple Sclerosis
When we are talking about food, simplify begins with what we eat. Diets may change to cater more to symptom management. Portions may shrink to offset reduced activity. Problems handling utensils, chewing and swallowing make simpler eating a necessity.
Plan and prepare
Plan what to cook and eat and how much time it will probably take. If you are comfortable working within your limitations, you can cook every day. If not, schedule cooking on days that are not too busy and cook a few meals at a time.
Relax and smile
When you relax, making dinner is easier and you will enjoy both the cooking and the eating. It may even be fun! If dinner is late, it's okay. The family will understand and may offer help.
Start off fresh and energetic, perhaps after an afternoon nap. Sit down if you need to. There are times you can take a break during preparation without messing up the final meal.
Cook leftover amounts
Feel good enough to cook? Cook extra for times when you don't. Make and save enough for a "homemade frozen meal," or begin building a smorgasbord buffet of various leftovers. Take advantage of leftovers by serving a second meal or reworking them into another dish.
Get help cutting
Enlist a friend or helper, use handy cutting tools, or purchase "pre-cut" food. If you do a lot with cubed or diced meat or vegetables, keep some in small containers or storage bags. It will be easy to take out ingredients ready to use and save the time and effort needed to prepare them.
Pay attention to nutrition
You can still keep yourself as healthy as possible by paying attention to proper nutrition. Eat well and feel well.
Set up cooking flow
Set up ingredients, cooking utensils, and even cleaning areas to reduce extra movement. An efficient set up leads to an efficient process. Cooking is easier, the cook uses minimal energy, and the meal is quickly prepared.
Get ingredients ready
Before starting to prepare the meal, prepare the ingredients. All ingredients can be cut and stored until needed. Jars, cans, boxes and bags can be opened and all measurements can be made before the cooking begins. Again, this makes the job easier and saves energy for the cook.
How many times have you heard "measure twice, cut once?" This is not construction so that rule does not apply. Measure everything that needs it at one time. Start early enough with all of your measured ingredients. If everything is ready, your meal is practically done. The preparation method is simplified, saving time and energy.
Try something new
New dishes, ingredients, cooking methods and recipes are all worth consideration. Trying new tastes and new methods can be fun and adventurous. Give it a try and you may come up with a fantastic new recipe.
Consider pre-packaged or frozen items
Use frozen meals packed as they are or add ingredients for your own flair. Frozen dinners have greatly improved since Swanson's 1953 effort. Frozen ingredients can be easily steamed in the microwave. There is surprising variety in product quality and price.