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How to Make Cooking Easier When You Have RA

Rheumatoid arthritis can make it hard to cook. The disease often affects the fingers, which makes it harder to peel, chop, stir, slice, and open jars and cans.

You can still get a tasty, good-for-you meal or snack ready. Use these kitchen tricks from Melinda Winner, who has RA and wrote A Complete Illustrated Guide to Cooking with Arthritis.

1. Slice with a push. Apple corers aren’t just for apples. Use one to slice or chop potatoes, squash, cucumbers, pears, and other produce. Cut off the end of the fruit or vegetable to make it level and to steady it on the cutting board. Then, line up the corer with one handle facing your body and the other facing away. Finally, put your forearms on the handles and use the weight of your body to push the corer through the produce.

2. Put a ring on it. Wear a plain, inexpensive ring on your thumb and use it like a bottle opener for yogurt, sour cream, and similar packages. Position it under the lid’s edge and lift up with your hand to pop off the top.

3. Roll heavy loads. Moving a heavy pot of water from the sink to the stove or back? Use a plant stand with wheels. Fill the pot using a measuring cup, then push the plant stand to the stove and slide the pot onto the burner.

4. Push a button to dice. While you could buy pre-cut veggies and fruits, Winner recommends using a food processor instead. It can slice, shred, chop, and even make a pie crust from start to finish.

5. Repurpose simple kitchen tools. For instance, when you make egg salad or deviled eggs, a handheld square butter cutter can easily trim a peeled hard-boiled egg to the perfect size for salad. An egg slicer can perfectly cut mushrooms.

6. Plan. Do some prep work when you feel good. For example, measure out fresh herbs in tablespoons or teaspoons, then place them in ice cube trays. Fill the trays with water, milk, or cream. When frozen, place your “herbsicles” in clearly marked bags. Later, you won’t need to clean and cut herbs. Just grab what you need for your recipe.

7. Go electric. If it’s tough to stir, reach for a tool that will do it for you. Use a small handheld electric blender instead of a spoon. Look for one that also has a whisk, too.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on May 23, 2014

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