Joanne SmithAs kids, hearing, “Supper’s ready!” was music to our ears. As adults with disabilities, the thought of pulling together a healthy dinner each night is much less harmonious. Orchestrating weekly meal plans, grocery shopping, washing, chopping and cooking can be daunting and difficult.

It is well documented that many people with disabilities experience malnutrition. Common deficiencies include everything from protein to micronutrients like vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
Numerous challenges — whether chronic pain, transportation access or limited upper extremity function — can make it difficult to buy and prepare fresh, quality food on a regular basis. So many people with disabilities frequently rely on unhealthy, processed/fast foods that are low on vitamins and fiber, yet high in trans fats, which further deplete nutrients from the body. But there are strategies to make meal prep and clean up easier and less time-consuming that can help replace burgers and burritos with healthy, balanced home-cooked meals.

One-pan dinners, also known as sheet pan dinners — where the entire meal is baked on the same pan — are one of my favorite ways to simplify food prep, cooking and clean up, while maximizing nutrient intake. Because you can throw starches, nutrient-packed vegetables and meats in one pan and cook them all together, one-pan dinners can provide all the nutrition you need without the need to juggle multiple cooking methods at the same time. When you’re done, t