As we get older, certain household tasks become increasingly challenging. Where once you might have been up for preparing a three-course meal, with an added dessert, now you find yourself wanting to just relax after a few minutes standing in the kitchen. This is a normal part of aging, generating less energy than what we felt when we were younger. However, this often leaves seniors wondering what to do about their daily meals, especially if most of your recipes take more than 20 minutes to prepare.
Related Blog: Diet and Nutrition Tips for Seniors
The good news is that you don't have to hire an in home assistant or start ordering meals in, just to save yourself from cooking pains. All you need are a few useful techniques that help make meal preparation easier for seniors.
1. Chop Sitting Down
One of the biggest time consuming and surprisingly exhausting tasks involved in cooking delicious home meals from fresh ingredients is standing at the counter chopping vegetables and proteins. This task takes its toll on your feet, knees, lower back, shoulders, and hands, so if you've been having trouble with any of these issues, consider changing the way you chop. Instead of standing at the counter, set up your cutting board at the kitchen table instead. Make sure you have everything you need, including bowls to pour chopped ingredients into so you don't have to get up several times during the process. This is a great time to watch a movie or listen to the radio to keep your mind busy and help you take your time.
2. Minimize Standing Time
You may be used to standing at the stove for forty minutes flipping fillets or stirring sauce, but these techniques may become impractical over time. Think about your favorite recipes and ways to get frugal with the amount of time you spend standing up and the number of times you get up from sitting. Consider turning down the heat so you don't have to flip fillets or sandwiches as often, and let sauces simmer with the lid closed and a timer on while you take a breather. If you're still wrangling heavy pots and pans, consider switching to lightweight cookware instead to make cooking time less taxing.
3. Practical Ingredients and Packaging
Some ingredients are harder to work with than others. Sometimes the difficulty is with the item itself and other times, the struggle is with the packaging. When shopping at the grocery store or selecting what to have delivered by helpful gig-economy couriers, make sure to choose ingredients that you can handle on your own. Shellfish, for instance, might be too difficult to crack on your own these days and huge bags of frozen chicken may well be too heavy to handle. If you do get ingredients that are in packaging that are difficult to work with, repackage the ingredients into smaller containers you can easily handle later on.
4. Choose Meals with Shorter Prep Time
The amount of time you spend cooking could be a major part of why you're so tired at the end of a recipe. Even if you love to cook, it may be time to save the long recipes for special occasions and take a page from those who cook in a hurry. Choose recipes that take twenty minutes or less to prepare so that you're not exhausted or uncomfortable by dinner time. Don't be afraid to use the microwave for things like boiling potatoes or pasta, and discover the joys of quickly toasting a hot sandwich in a frying pan. There will be time for your signature lasagna during the Holiday season, when your energetic relatives are there to do the detailed work and you can relax and add input when necessary.
Cooking in your retirement years can become more challenging, but it doesn't have to be unpleasant. With a few careful considerations for standing discomfort and the amount of time you spend on meal preparation, cooking for yourself should once again become simple and easy.