Tasty Tools: Assistive Technology in the Kitchen (Part 3)

Hands pushing a full grocery cart down a grocery aisle.By Jen Gosett, BS, CTRS, MATP Staff

Picture this: you’re at your local grocery store and you have a full cart of groceries.  You picked out some healthy things, some treats, and some multi-purpose ingredients.  You did good and know you won’t have to go on a big grocery trip again for a while (hooray!).  You’re about to get into line, but oh no!  You forgot the milk…and it’s on the complete opposite side of the store.  Is anyone getting that sick/annoyed feeling in the pit of their stomach right now just thinking about this?  You’re not alone!  Thankfully, Assistive Technology can help us prepare and plan so that this doesn’t happen/happens less frequently on future trips.  

Welcome to Part 3 of our Tasty Tools: AT in the Kitchen series!  If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, be sure to go back and check them out.  Ok now, this post isn’t technically about AT in the kitchen per se, but it is about AT in the grocery store…which is a means to get the food into the kitchen…You see where I’m going with this right? 😉

Written grocery listLet’s start at the beginning.  How do you make your grocery shopping list?  Do you write your list on paper?  Do you throw caution to the wind and just go to the store with no list (oh the horror lol!)  Do you give consideration to the order that you write down the grocery items in?  I plan my list out by which door I plan to enter my local grocery store through; by doing this I am less likely to forget something and won’t have to go back across the store for it.  For example, if I park by the fruit, veggie, & bakery door, the beginning of my list is going to include strawberries, carrots, hamburger buns, etc.  For people who have needs geared around mobility supports, sometimes it’s not an easy or accessible feat to “just go back” to the dairy aisle; planning by store layout can be a real help.

I gave up my paper grocery list years ago in favor of an electronic list on something that I always have on me; my phone.  I started using the AnyList – Grocery Shopping List & Recipe Manager app to keep track of my needed grocery items and life has not been the same!  I don’t have to worry if I grabbed (or lost) my paper list because it’s all in one place on my phone.  And my life partner can add to our grocery shopping list from his own device (he usually adds mini reese cups)!  For someone with needs that center around memory, this app not only offers a reminder of what to buy, but also an option for others (Direct Support Professionals, family members, etc.) to add items to the person’s list from their own mobile devices.  And on this app, it doesn’t matter which order you input grocery items onto on the list, you can move them around once they are on there (without having to retype them all in).  

Shopping List Free app screen displaying grocery items.Another grocery list app that I have found beneficial is the Shopping List Free app.  It’s similar to AnyList, but it has good contrast between the white text and dark background in the app (can be helpful for people who have low vision).  If you’d like to try out AnyList, Shopping List Free, other grocery shopping list apps, and other shopping supports, contact your local Disability Network and ask for an Assistive Technology demonstration.  

Sam's Club Scan & Go app scanning the bar code for a bunch of bananas.An app that came out this past July (and I love using) is the Sam’s Club Scan & Go app.  With this app, there is no need for the checkout line!  You scan the bar codes of the items you want using your phone or smart device and virtually “checkout” and pay all in the app.  When you’re leaving the store, you just show the staff your confirmation of payment on your phone or smart device and you’re all set.  Waiting in line to checkout is an activity which almost no one enjoys.  For people who have a lower tolerance for sensory input or who have some types of anxiety, bright grocery store lights, fellow shoppers in personal space, and loud, echoing noises can be really disruptive, overwhelming, and stressful.  This bar code scanning & checkout app from Sam’s can make all the difference when grocery shopping; one less barrier to getting the food from the store to the kitchen!  Speaking of the kitchen, stay tuned for Tasty Tools: Assistive Technology in the Kitchen (Part 4).  Coming soon!  

Thanks for reading!

Author: Jen

My name is Jen Gossett and I'm a Regional Manager with the Michigan Assistive Technology Program at Michigan Disability Rights Coalition. I believe that technology is a right and that everyone deserves the chance to learn about it and to use it in all of its various forms. If you would like to learn more about me, visit the MDRC staff page & scroll down to read my bio: http://mymdrc.org/home/staff

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