10 Tips for Cooking with Chronic Arthritis

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 28 February 2019
  • 4 minute read
10 Tips for Cooking with Arthritis | The Health Sessions

This article is written by Christian Worstell. 

It’s widely recognized that your diet can have an effect on your arthritis, as certain foods tend to cause inflammation. But have you thought about how your arthritis can greatly affect which foods you eat?

The chronic pain, stiffness and lack of mobility brought on by arthritis is perhaps most worrisome when it limits your activity in the kitchen. Preparing healthy and nutritious meals can prove challenging to people suffering from arthritis, and the consequence can be malnutrition or an otherwise poor diet.

Being unable to chop up fresh fruits or vegetables can lead one to rely on pre-packaged and processed goods. The inability to open a can of soup can mean settling for some crackers or chips instead. Or worse, it may lead to skipping meals altogether.

But suffering from arthritis doesn’t have to mean sacrificing nutritious meals and healthy snacks. Here are 10 tips for maintaining healthy eating habits with arthritis.

1. Use a home delivery meal service.

Home delivered meal services like Meals on Wheels are a great way for people living with arthritis to take a respite from cooking and still get a quality meal. Thankfully, some health insurance policies, such as Medicare Advantage plans, will offer coverage for home meal deliverystarting in 2019.

 2. Use a ring to help you open lids.

Wear an old ring on your thumb to help you open container lids by positioning it under the edge of the lid and lifting up. This simple trick can help save your hands by making it much easier to open difficult (and pain-inducing) tops.

3. Roll heavy loads.

A plant stand with wheels can be an efficient way to transfer a pot of water from the sink to the stove. You can use a measuring cup or glass to fill the pot from the sink, and then roll the pot to the stove and slide it onto the burner. Lifting a pot of water can be very heavy, so using a moveable wheeled surface can make it easier and safer.

4. Prep on your “good” days.

The pain from arthritis can rise and fall in intensity, leaving you with good days and bad. Take advantage of your good days by using this time to prep and store ingredients and meals for later.

5. Use an apple corer to cut fruits and vegetables.

Cut off one end of the fruit or vegetable to make it sit level on your cutting board. Line up an apple corer with one handle facing you and the other facing away. Place your forearms on the handles and use the weight of your body to push the corer through. Be careful as you do this, and note how much less work your hands have to do.

10 Tips for Cooking with Arthritis | The Health Sessions

6. Put your food processor to work.

A food processor can chop, cut, slice and shred foods, which your hands may simply not be able tolerate due to arthritis. Make sure to buy a food processor with blades, lids and bowls that are easy for you to remove, wash and store.

7. Use pots with two handles.

Lifting a heavy pot by just one handle is not only hard on arthritic joints, but it’s also very dangerous. Replace your one-handled pots with ones featuring dual handles so you can use both hands to lift.

8. Look for specialty tools.

There are a number of specialty cooking tools for sale that are specifically designed to make cooking easier and less painful. One example is a rocker knife, which features two handles and a curved blade, so you can rock the knife back and forth to slice, as opposed to gripping a knife handle with one hand.

9. Have a seat on a stool.

Standing for a prolonged period of time while preparing food can cause pain and stiffness to flare up. Find a stool that allows you to sit comfortably at counter height while you cook.

10. Double up your recipe.

Each time you cook a meal, consider doubling (or even tripling) the recipe. You can store the extras in the freezer for another day. If you double up each time you cook, you’ll cut the number of times you have to prepare a meal in half.

Don’t let arthritis keep you from cooking the foods you love and eating a healthy diet. Use these tips and find out what works best for you.

Author Bio: Christian Worstell writes health, lifestyle and finance articles on behalf of TZ Health Media. He lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife and daughter and spends what little free time he has on the golf course.

For more practical tips on arthritis, check out Designing for Arthritis: 5 Ways to Create an Arthritis-Friendly Home and 7 Tips for Managing Your Arthritis Symptoms Naturally.

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