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.
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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.