In the Kitchen With Arthritis

If arthritis pain bothers you, you may have all but given up on cooking and baking. All that slicing, stirring, and lifting may just feel like too much some days. But there are ways to get back in the kitchen and take part in the joys of creating—and eating—your own food. Here's how you can rediscover your inner chef:

Take advantage of good days. If your joints aren't bothering you too much, that's the day to cook up a storm. Make double or triple portions and freeze them for days when you're not feeling so great. Use good days for more intensive prep work such as shopping or chopping. On days when you're not feeling up to doing much, all you'll have to do is reheat.

Keep it simple. Look for recipes with few ingredients and those that can be cooked in one pot. Crockpots are excellent tools for people with arthritis.

Keep it small. Warehouse and big-box stores may have appealing sales, but those huge containers probably aren't for you. Buying in smaller packages means less waste if you find that you're not up to heavy-duty kitchen work, and it also makes things easier for you to lift. If you're feeling good and can't resist a warehouse sale, transfer your purchases to several small containers when you get home.

Get help. Many supermarkets offer free help carrying your bags out to the car. If you'll need help unloading once you get home, ask a friend to accompany you. Or pay a neighborhood teen to do the heavy lifting.

Stock up. Make sure your larder has all the essentials you'll need so you're not faced with an unwanted shopping trip. Order online if there are supplies that are difficult to find locally. You might even sign up for a home-delivery grocery service for those days when going to the store is just not in the cards.

Get the right tools. Invest in kitchen tools specially designed for people with arthritis. These include easy jar, bottle, and box openers, no-skid plates, curved plates, easy-to-grasp mugs and cups, and adapted utensils. These can make a world of difference in your kitchen efforts.



Arthritis Foundation