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NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities

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National Nutrition Month


By: Rebecca Cline

Another National Nutrition Month has rolled around for March, and this year’s theme is Putting Your Best Fork Forward.  To help celebrate, NCHPAD is talking all about assistive kitchen tools and adapted cooking utensils.

 
What is an adapted cooking utensil?
An adapted cooking utensil is a tool used in the kitchen that may have some type of modification in order to enhance the cooking and eating experience.  They may be useful during sessions where meal prep is involved.  There are many tools and tips for users with mobility issues, limited vision, or unsteady hands.  Adapted kitchen tools create independence for the individual and maximize the eating opportunity for the person with a disability.

Innovative kitchen tools and accessories designed specifically for making cooking easier and safer for everyone will ensure involvement of all participants.  Adapted kitchen tools can be used by anyone in the kitchen but they may especially enhance the cooking experience for someone with a disability.

Types of adapted kitchen tools and utensils:

•    Swivel utensils assists users with little or no muscle control to keep the food on the fork or spoon.  The tool swivels with movement to keep a level platform.
•    Lipped plates are commonly used by individuals with poor hand coordination.  The plate rounds up at the edges so that the consumer can scoop his food onto the utensil easier.
•    A rocker knife is a large knife that rocks back and forth while cutting rather than sawing the food.  This knife may be safer to use as the individual prepping does not have to pick up the utensil after each saw and risk cutting himself.
•    Pronged cutting boards include little pricks or prongs that hold the food in place while one cuts.
•    Non-skid mixing bowls or cutting boards are both useful for individuals with shaky hands.  The non-skid materials allow for the cooking object to stay put.
•    Easy grip utensils include larger handles for easier gripping and can be weighted or non-weighted.  The weighted utensils are commonly used by individuals with Parkinson’s disease or other conditions that include tremors to control unsteady hands while eating.
•    Grip straps are very similar to easy grip utensils as they both aid with limited dexterity.  A grip strap is attached to the fork or spoon and slides over the hand or wrist so that the individual and hold the utensil without squeezing.
•    Angled utensils are designed to be lightweight and bent to more independent feeding.
•    Finger loop utensils consist of a small loop that slips over the thumb or pointer finger to ensure proper hold.  These can also be used by individuals with little or no grip strength.
•    Spout cups can be used for individuals who may have poor mouth control or spill frequently.  Typically, these types of cups have lids and the user will suck rather than drink.
•    Openers come in a variety of tools, including manual or automatic.  Many can be used to open jars, bottles, or cans, and they can consist of grippers, corkscrews, and other mounted openers.  Mounted openers are typically nailed to a wall or hard surface and are especially utilized by individuals with one hand.

Many kitchen items include easy grips, non-skid material, or holders.  For more kitchen tools that aid with food preparation, check out Kitchen Safety and Helpful Tools.

Resources
•    http://www.consultant360.com/n411/content/using-adaptive-feeding-equipment
•    https://disabilityfeast.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/accessible-food-and-cooking-tips-for-little-people/
•    www.wrightstuff.biz



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