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Living with COPD Series

In The Kitchen

Helpful Hints

  • Assemble all necessary items before beginning meal preparation.
  • Sit while working if possible. A high-raised stool is a handy item if working at a counter height.
  • Keep frequently used items on the counter or within easy reach.
  • Keep other frequently used items on the upper shelves of lower cabinets or the lower shelf of upper cabinets.
  • Keep you seldom or less used items on the shelves where you have more difficulty, ie: long reach or requires bending or stooping.
  • Keep your shelves as uncluttered as possible.
  • Consider a long-handled "grabber" to help you reach these more difficult-to-reach items.
  • If walking, lifting or carrying is difficult for you, try using a small rolling cart to transport your items from one place to another.
  • Cook larger meals at one time even if you live alone. Freeze your leftovers in zip-lock bags or the newer, handy-storage containers to make your own boil-in-bag or reheatable single meals.
  • Serve one-dish meals or casserole-type foods.
  • Use aluminum foil when baking or broiling to eliminate scrubbing and for easy clean up.
  • Soak pots and pans for ease in cleaning; it helps to eliminate the need for excess scrubbing.
  • Air-dry frequently used dishes and utensils.
  • Use counter-height toaster/broiler or microwaves. Crock-pots are also very useful cooking items and reduce the amount of heat that ovens or long simmering can cause.
  • Use convenience foods when desired. Learn to read labels as many convenience foods are high in salt (sodium) and sugar content. These items may be on a restricted list if you are on a special diet.
  • Keep plenty of water and beverages in the refrigerator.
  • Use your exhaust fan while cooking to expel heat and moisture from cooking.
  • Have a small fan available if the heat in the kitchen is difficult or uncomfortable for you.
  • When cleaning up after a meal, assemble all items that need to be refrigerated first and then deal with them. The rest can wait for a later time.
  • After washing, put your most frequently used pots and pans back on the stove and leave them there.
  • If possible, rather then putting your dishes and silver away just reset your table for your next meal.
  • Remember it takes a lot of energy to eat and digest food. It is recommended that six smaller meals is preferred over a few large ones.  Plan your menus accordingly.
  • Space out tasks other then those required day to day, like dishwashing etc. Plan such activities as cabinet cleaning, refrigerator cleaning, oven cleaning, etc., into small manageable sections. You can even space these activities out over weeks to keep everything manageable. For example, when cleaning a refrigerator, concentrate on one shelf per day if the task of the entire project is just too much. The same principle applies to cabinets and other areas of the kitchen. Make them smaller projects when planning your activities.

Compiled by COPD-International Community Members

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Last modified: June 17, 2002