Preparing meals can be a big task with painful joints caused by arthritis. However, it is still important to eat healthily to avoid weight gain and to give the joints the nutrition they need.
If meal preparation is largely out of the question for you, consider using your local Meals on Wheels service.
Ready-prepared meals for bad arthritis days
Though ready-prepared and frozen dinners are quick and easy, especially when your arthritis is keeping you out of the kitchen, they can be high in salt and low in fibre. Check the labels for better choices to serve as the main course of a nutritious meal.
Even the healthiest ready-prepared and frozen meals offer little in the way of vegetables and whole grains. Supplement with a portion of fresh or frozen cooked vegetables, and a slice of wholemeal bread to make a complete meal.
Freeze extra portions
On days when you prepare meals, consider making twice the amount needed for the day and freezing the extra portions to heat-up another day.
Supermarkets offer plenty of convenience foods that make assembling a meal easy for anyone with arthritis. However, like most processed foods, they supply more salt than you need, so look for lower-salt varieties. Add fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and dairy foods to make a balanced meal.
When arthritis makes cooking difficult, enjoy a protein-rich lentil, black bean or split pea soup. Consider getting an electric tin opener to make it easier for you. These days you can also pick up a pre-roasted chicken, a pasty or other ready-prepared foods at most supermarkets and corner shops.
Plus salmon and tuna fillets are available in easy-to-open packages and are ready to eat in seconds for lunch or dinner.
The role of liquid meals in your arthritis diet
Liquid foods supply many essential vitamins and minerals but they don’t have enough protein and fibre to be considered a real meal. They may leave you wanting more, and can be relatively expensive. However, these meals are convenient and can be supplemented with some wholemeal toast and fruit.
Check the label to make sure the liquid food contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Diet and arthritis
Obesity increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis and once you have been diagnosed with arthritis, carrying extra weight can make things worse. Consider shedding some pounds if your doctor thinks you need to.
Vitamin C is important for the development of normal cartilage. A deficiency of vitamin C might lead to the development of weak cartilage. Vitamin C is commonly available in citrus fruits.
Getting enough calcium from food and drink is important for bone health, as is vitamin D from the summer sun to help the body use calcium.
Everyone in the UK is advised to have vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter as our weather means many of us don’t get enough vitamin D.