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Arthritis Health Center

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Shopping and Preparing Easy Meals When You Have Arthritis

6 Tips for Preparing Meals at Home When You Have Arthritis continued...

“Scissors and pizza cutter wheels are other options that make it easier for many people with arthritis,” says arthritis counselor Andrew Lui, PT, DPT, assistant clinical professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation at the University of California, San Francisco. To avoid strain on your hands when opening jar lids, use a rubber pad or jar opener that grips the lid.

2. Use Light Pots and Pans for Easier Handling
If lifting heavy pots and pans is a problem, replace heavy materials such as cast iron with lighter alternatives, such as aluminum pans. Replace stoneware plates or storage containers with plastic ones. If you’re on a tight budget, yard sales area a great place to find kitchenware at a bargain.

3. Go Automatic and Reduce Joint Aches
Appliances like electric can openers, microwaves, hand-held blenders, and food processors can make food preparation much simpler when you have arthritis. Not all automatic appliances are simple to use, however, so check them out carefully to see how they work before buying something new. If you have room, keep heavier appliances that you frequently use on the countertop to avoid having to lift them.

4. Change Positions and Ease Joint Strain
While you’re cooking, try not to stand or sit in one position for long. Change your position frequently to avoid undue stress on joints. If you do have to stand at the counter for a lengthy time, try putting one foot up on a low footstool to ease strain on your back.

5. Double Recipes, Not Your Workload
If you’re taking the time to make a dish from scratch, double the recipe so you’ll have leftovers. That way, on days when you’re arthritis flares, you can reach into the refrigerator or freezer and have a meal ready in minutes. Keep freezer storage bags and containers on hand. Label containers with what’s inside and the date you stored them, so that you can easily see what’s in your freezer.

6. Plan to Save Your Joints
When preparing meals, think ahead about how to minimize your work. Line pans with aluminum foil to make clean-up easier, for example. Plan one-pot meals so you’ll have fewer utensils to wash and dry. Use a tray that you can hold underneath to carry items to and from the table, avoiding strain on your wrists. Let pots, pans, and dishes soak in warm soapy water to make clean-up easier. With a little bit of common sense, Lorig says, you can “outsmart arthritis,” minimizing pain, without having to give up everyday activities you enjoy doing.

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Reviewed on March 12, 2014

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