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Kitchen utensils

Make small adjustments to the kitchen cupboard and to everyday kitchen utensils, you’ll be able to safely continue cooking and eating what you enjoy.
4 min read
In this article
Adapted cutlery Opening jars and cans Non-slip mats
Eating and drinking utensils Lap trays

Adapted cutlery

Using standard cutlery may be increasingly difficult for those with limited ability to move their arms or grip. If this is difficult for you, look for specially adapted cutlery, including items with large, long or lightweight handles.


You can also buy angled cutlery, or cutlery that serves multiple functions. For example, a splayed fork can be good if you only have the use of one hand.


If you’re finding it difficult to cut food on the plate, there are knives with a rocking edge that cut food into smaller pieces without using the sawing action of a standard knife.

Utensils for food preparation

Look for lightweight or self-opening scissors, as these will take pressure off painful fingers. You might also benefit from easy-open safety tools with protected blades that can be used to slice open paper and plastic food wrappers.


For peeling fruit and vegetables, there are ergonomic peelers that can help if you have problems gripping conventional peelers. Also, some graters have specially designed handles so there’s never a risk of scraped fingertips.


There are also kitchen utensils with larger handles for, say, mashing vegetables and stirring pans; and equipment for measuring ingredients with larger text if your eyesight is not what it was.

Using knives safely

Look for knives with longer and angled handles, from bread knives to carving knives. A spiked chopping board that holds items in place can also be very beneficial.


There are several products available that can help hold the knife in place when slicing bread, vegetables and meat. These can be useful if your eyesight is weakening or you’re finding it difficult to hold food and cut at the same time.


If chopping with knives is too painful or time-consuming, there’s a variety of small choppers on the market that will chop or dice vegetables more readily and safely.

Opening jars and cans

If you have trouble gripping or have little strength, opening jars and cans can be a trial. A few simple products can make a big difference in the kitchen.


There are openers designed to help those with a painful or limited grip, and others that are made to boost leverage. They’re suitable for use on a range of different sized jars and all kinds of bottles, including both plastic and glass.


If opening cans with a pull lever becomes difficult, look for specifically designed larger-handled ring pulls. For tins without ring-pull lids, electric tin openers can be incredibly beneficial if you start finding it difficult to use a manual one.

Non-slip mats

Non-slip matting is invaluable in the kitchen when preparing food. It helps keep mixing bowls still when stirring, and can secure cups and other items in place on a tray when carrying from one room to another.

Non-slip matting is invaluable in the kitchen when preparing food.

You might also find it helpful to use non-slip matting to prevent your plate or bowl from moving around while you eat.



Eating and drinking utensils


Adapted plates, bowls and mugs don’t have to be made of plastic – search around and you’ll find a range of eating utensils made of pottery or china that are more dignified for adults.


Plates and bowls


It’s a good idea to look at the type of plates you use. Plate guards and shaped plates can be particularly useful if you have problems scooping food on to forks or spoons, as can plates with a lip.


Plates and bowls designed to stay warm will also be beneficial if you need extra time to eat.


Mugs and cups


Finding the right mug or cup is important to prevent spills and potential burns when preparing hot drinks.


There’s a range of mugs and cups with different features that can help you drink safely. When choosing one, consider what you find most difficult when drinking and what type of mug and cup would solve it.

  • For stiff or painful fingers, the handle is a good place to start. Think about whether the handle is large enough, or whether you need to look for a cup with larger handles that allow a firmer grip.
  • For lack of muscle strength, a double-handled cup can be picked up with both hands. There’s also the option to get a cup with a fitted lid to prevent drinks spilling. A straw can also help. There are cups with lids that have straw holes as part of the design. One-way straws can be useful, as they stop air from being sucked up, but extra-long straws and reusable straws are also available.
  • If you have problems with swallowing, consider getting a cup that has a spout for adults. Some of these cups are also able to regulate the amount of liquid that comes out, which can be helpful.

Lap trays

If you’re beginning to find it uncomfortable to eat at a dining table, even on an occasional basis, having the right lap tray that is comfortable and secure is important. You can find lap trays that are suitable for a sofa, chair or bed, depending on your needs.


Cushion trays or bean bag trays are designed to let you eat with the tray on your lap while sitting down. However, they’re less secure than something like a cantilever table, which can be positioned over a chair or bed and is generally a more stable option if you have limited mobility.


A trolley can also fulfil this same purpose if it’s adjusted to the right height to eat from.


On our online retailers page you can find links to places where you can buy adapted eating equipment.


Further reading

Kitchen appliances

Making a few small adjustments to your kitchen appliances to ensure they suit your needs can make a big difference to ...

Choosing and buying equipment

Choosing the right independent living products can improve your safety and wellbeing, and give you greater independence.

Safety around the home

Use our checklists to review the basic safety aspects of your home – such as lighting, heating, power and furniture.

Last updated: 14 Nov 2018