Mealtime tips for low vision and blindness — CNIB — Part 1


When setting a table, keep color contrast in mind. If you have white plates they may almost disappear on a white tablecloth but show up well against a plain dark tablecloth. Purchasing a vinyl tablecloth also makes it easy to wipe clean. If the food being served is dark, use light colored dishes. If food is light, use dark coloured dishes. Washable, non-slip placemats in different colours to contrast with different plates are another option. A tip for young children who are blind or partially sighted is to place mealtime items on a contrasting cafeteria-style tray to keep everything contained and in reach, but in the same configuration or layout as everyone else. It also helps to contain spills. To avoid spills at the table, at home or away, it is important to know how to locate items at your place setting. Start at the edge of the table and with your fingers curled and arms flexed, move gently toward the centre of the table until you find your plate. From there with your fingers low to the table, extend arms and fingers gradually to the right and left to find silverware, teacup, glass, salad bowl, bread and butter plate, etc. Keep your hands on the surface of the table and move slowly. If you cannot find the item you need, ask for it to be passed to you. When reaching for a glass during mealtime, keep your hands in contact with the table. If you reach high for your glass, you may tip it over. Before placing the glass back down onto the table, check that the area is clear with your free hand. This will prevent spills resulting from placing the glass down on another utensil or other object. You can identify the cutting edge of an unfamiliar knife by discretely running the blade of the knife against the side of the plate. You will feel or hear the serrated edge of the blade rubbing against the plate

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