Introduction: Empathetic Design: a Healthy Meal

My best friend is living with me at my mother’s apartment during the quarantine as he is not in the same location as his parents, and he is also working and focusing on fitness. In this confusing time with a lot of work at some periods in time and without his mother that usually cooks for him, preparing meals for him that he can take on the go would benefit him in multiple ways. I would like to cook a healthy meal with ingredients that are considerate of what he needs nutritionally to stay fit and healthy as that is a big focus for him. Chicken, rice, and broccoli are his favorite protein, starch, and vegetable so these will be the three main ingredients for the meal, and these are all ingredients that are also low in fat and include necessary nutrients as well as contribute to a well rounded diet. I will go through the process of cooking a healthy meal that use these three ingredients and some others to give my best friend more time, less stress, and another healthy eating option.


- Chicken breast

- 1 cup of water

- 1 cup of rice

-1 cup of pre-cut thawed freezer kept broccoli

- 2 tablespoons of olive oil

- 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning

- 2/3 cup of chopped onion

- 2/3 cup of chopped bell peppers


- 5 cup plastic airtight container and lid


- Stove top

- Large skillet

- Measuring cup

- Tablespoon

- Medium sized pot

- Pot cover

- Scissors or cerated knife

- Cutting board

Cleaning Materials:

- Paper towels

- Multi-surface spray

- Dish soap

- Dish sponge

- Clorox wipes

Step 1: Empathetic Designing

I have analyzed and emotionally connected with my client’s (friend's) situation and thought of a logical way to benefit them using compassionate empathy. I have talked to my client who is also my best friend and learned about his feelings of missing his mother and her cooking for him, we have also talked about his fitness goals and focus as well as what he likes to put in his body nutrition wise. I also am aware that he is never bored or running out of things to do and is still working as a graphic designer even in this time of life when so many people can’t seem to find ways to fill up the time, so saving him time would be beneficial to him and empathetic. After considering these aspects of his situation, I used empathy to think about how living in his shoes would feel and what one might appreciate and benefit from if living in his position. I decided to cook a meal out of three simple and nutritious base ingredients that we already have at the house to limit the shopping trips to buy a huge variation in ingredients, due to the pandemic this is an area of concern. I understand the concept of a balanced meal so after asking my client about his favorite starch, vegetable, and protein (meat) and I am using these three components to make meal for him.

Step 2: Set Out All Ingredients

Use your kitchen counter to set out all your necessary equipment and ingredients, this is the time to put the correct measurements of your specific food items into different small bowls.

Step 3: Cook Rice

Measure 1 cup of rice and add to the medium sized pot as well as one cup of water an add it to the pot. Place the pot over another burner on your stove top, and place the lid over. Let the rice absorb the water and cook while you continue with the mix in the skillet, the rice should cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the rice reaches the desired consistency (lack of excess water)

Equipment Used: Stove top, Medium sized pot, Pot lid, Measuring cup

Ingredients Used: Water, Rice

Step 4: Cut the Chicken

Lay the chicken breast on your cutting board and grab scissors or a cerated knife to cut the chicken. Estimate bite size pieces and cut your chicken accordingly. Here you may add salt and pepper to your chicken if you desire, however I did not for my recipe.

Equipment Used: Scissors, Cutting Board

Ingredients Used: Chicken Breast

Step 5: Add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil to Heated Pan

Place your large skillet on the burner, and put to medium heat using the dial on your stove top. Then as the pan heats up, measure 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a tablespoon and add the oil to the pan.

Equipment Used: Large Skillet, Tablespoon, Stove top

Ingredients Used: Olive Oil

Caution: As the pan heats up it becomes a safety hazard and can cause burns, try to keep fingers and anything that besides the skillet off of the stove top.

Step 6: Add Chicken

Add the chicken to the skillet by tilting the cutting board over the skillet until the chicken falls into the skillet. Be careful to make sure all of the chicken gets into the skillet.

Equipment Used: Stove top, Skillet, Tongs

Ingredients Used: Chicken breast

Step 7: Cook Chicken

Let the chicken cook for four minutes while stirring with the tongs every 30 seconds. You should see the chicken start to change color and become more white.

Equipment Used: Stove top,Skillet, Tongs

Ingredients Used: Chicken breast

Step 8: Add Taco Seasoning

Pour taco seasoning from bag into a tablespoon over the skillet, once the spoon is full, pour evenly around the skillet, and repeat this one more time. After adding the taco seasoning make sure to stir around the seasoning and chicken using the tongs.

Equipment Used: Stove top,Skillet, Tongs

Ingredients Used: Taco seasoning

Step 9: Add Onion

Pour the chopped onion from the bowl into the skillet, and stir around using the tongs to mix the seasoning and flavors.

Equipment Used: Stove top, Skillet, Tongs

Ingredients Used: Onion

Step 10: Add Peppers

Add the pre cut bell peppers into the mix and continue stirring the mix over medium heat.

Equipment Used: Tongs, Skillet, Stove top

Ingredients Used: Chopped peppers

Step 11: Add Tomatoes

Chop the tomatoes in half using the cerated knife and the cutting board, then measure out 2/3 a cup of tomatoes using the measuring cup. Pour into the skillet and continue to stir to mix flavors and let contents heat equally.

Equipment Used: Cerated knife, Cutting board, Measuring cup, Skillet, Stove top

Ingredients Used: Tomatoes

Step 12: Add Rice

Take the lid of the pot and put it to the side, stir rice and make sure it is the correct consistency, then pick up the pot by the handle and guide the contents into the skillet. Once the rice is in the skillet mix all the contents more thoroughly together.

Equipment Used: Tongs, Pot, Skillet, Stove top

Step 13: Add Broccoli

Add the chopped broccoli into the skillet from the small bowl and stir with the rest of the mix until everything is hot.

Equipment Used: Skillet, Stove top, Tongs

Ingredients Used: Broccoli

Step 14: Pour Food Into Storage Container

Place the plastic container on a flat surface and hold the skillet by the handle over the container. Using the tongs, guide the contents of the skillet into the plastic container, and close the lid.

Equipment Used: Tongs, Plastic container and lid, Skillet.

Step 15: Clean Equipment

To do the dishes first get a sponge and pour some dish soap onto it. Turn on the tap and make sure the water is warm, but not too hot for your hands, then rinse the item you are washing. Scrub the item you are washing with the sponge using the rough side for any hard to get clean spots. Then rinse the item again after cleaning all the food or other stains off. Once done washing the item you can place the item on a drying rack or on a cloth on the counter while you dry with a cloth and then you will put it away in the next step.

Equipment Used: All used equipment

Cleaning Supplies Used: Dish soap, Sink, Sponge, Rag

Step 16: Put Away Supplies

After you have dried the clean dishes put back in the cupboards or storage areas that they belong specific to your home. Along with any ingredient that you have excess of that can go back into cupboards or the fridge.

Step 17: Wipe Down Area Used for Cooking

Use multi-surface spray to spray down the surfaces you cooked on and then wipe clean and dry with paper towels. Then go over the clean counters with Clorox wipes to disinfect and be cautious of the CoronaVirus.

Equipment Used: Clorox wipes, Multi-surface spray, Paper towels

Step 18: Empathetic Conclusion of Design

In conclusion my best friend and client had a meal cooked for him that he enjoyed. It saved him time as well as made him feel cared for while he misses his mother, and the type of food was guilt free in terms of feeling bad nutritionally. The clean up procedure also was not only empathetic to him so that the house looks clean but empathetic to my mum because she didn't have to clean up after me or feel guilty about asking me to clean up over again.