Skip to content
Font Size

Diet and Rheumatoid Arthritis: How to Fix Fast and Simple Meals

Arthritis pain can make it hard to cook. Try these tricks to preparing easy and nutritious meals.
By
WebMD Feature

Everyone wants to save time and energy in the kitchen. It's particularly important when aching joints from arthritis turn preparing a meal into a monumental task. We've put together some ideas for easy meals that take the strain off your hands and body and don't wear you out. At the same time, they manage to deliver great taste, as well as the nutrition you need to limit swelling from arthritis and stay strong.

And here's a tip: when you are feeling up to cooking, make extra. That way, you'll always have healthy food around to eat on your lower-energy days. If meal prep is largely out of the question for you, consider using your local Meals on Wheels program.

Recommended Related to Rheumatoid Arthritis

An Overview of Rheumatic Diseases

Rheumatic diseases are painful conditions usually caused by inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints or muscles. Some rheumatic diseases like osteoarthritis are the result of "wear and tear" to the joints. Other rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, happen when the immune system becomes hyperactive; the immune system attacks the linings of joints, causing joint pain, swelling, and destruction. Almost any joint can be affected in rheumatic disease. There are more than 100 rheumatic...

Read the An Overview of Rheumatic Diseases article > >

Frozen Meals for Bad Arthritis Days

Frozen entrees are quick and easy, especially when your arthritis is keeping you out of the kitchen. But they are notoriously high in sodium and low in fiber. If you know what to look for, there are plenty of good choices in the freezer aisle to serve as the centerpiece of a nutritious meal. Look for dishes that supply 800 milligrams of sodium or less; a minimum of 15 grams of protein; and at least four grams of fiber.

Even the healthiest frozen entrees skimp on produce and whole grains. Supplement with a cup of fresh or frozen cooked vegetables, and a slice of whole grain bread to make a complete meal.

Nearly-a-Meal Convenience Foods

Supermarkets abound with convenience foods that could be considered near-meals, easy for anyone with arthritis. Like most processed foods, they supply more sodium than you need, so look for lower-sodium varieties. These meal starters come up short on protein so they need to be supplemented with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy to make a balanced meal.

When arthritis makes cooking tough, enjoy a protein-packed bean soup such as lentil, black bean, or split pea. Invest in a reliable electric can opener to make it easier on yourself. You can also pick up a pre-roasted chicken, a breakfast burrito, sushi or other ready-made foods at most grocery stores these days. Plus, marinated albacore (white) tuna steaks and salmon fillets are available in easy-to-open packages and are ready to eat in seconds for lunch or dinner. In a pinch, even a can of season tuna - served on six crackers - makes an instant healthy meal.

The Role of Liquid Meals in Your Arthritis Diet

Liquid meals supply many essential vitamins and minerals, but they lack adequate protein and fiber to be considered a real meal. Plus, they aren't particularly satisfying and can leave you wanting more. And they are relatively expensive. But in spite of all that, they are not without merit; convenience is one of their virtues. Pair them with a piece or two of whole-grain toast or a whole-grain waffle and fruit to round out their nutritional power for an arthritis friendly meal.

Check the label to make sure the liquid meal contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. Most 8-ounce nutritional supplement drinks are fortified to provide 25% of the vitamins you need each day.

Today on WebMD

rubbing hands
Avoid these 6 common mistakes.
woman roasting vegetables in oven
Four that fight inflammation.
 
mature woman threading needle
How much do you know about these RA myths and facts?
Patients who take the product would get no
This may lead to worsening symptoms.
 
Lucille Ball
Slideshow
Hand bones X-ray
Article
 
prescription pills
Article
Woman massaging her neck
Quiz
 
woman roasting vegetables in oven
Slideshow
Woman rubbing shoulder
Slideshow
 
Working out with light weights
Video
arthritis
Article