Living with arthritis can be challenging, especially on those days when you have a flare up. It becomes inconvenient when you feel you can no longer do things you enjoy and want to participate in. Preparing meals may seem particularly challenging for individuals living with arthritis due to the many demands involved.
Here are my top ten cooking solutions to make your life easier in the kitchen:
1. Hands-Free Can Openers
Canned goods are typically convenient and cheap to add flavor into various recipes. However, using a manual can opener can be complicated and even lead to injury as you flex your wrist to open the can. Luckily, some can openers are designed to be completely hands-free. All you have to do is place it over the can and press a button. No more turning and wrestling with cans!
2. Rocker Knife
For someone with limited mobility and a weak grip, the rocker knife is much easier to handle for chopping and cutting. It can be used single-handedly and has a sharp edge, so it can be used for meats and vegetables. There are many varieties of easy grip knives available, but this one eases the pressure on the wrist, thanks to its rocking motion.
3. Jar Openers
Jarred goods such as pickles and sauces, can be tedious to open for anyone. Grip strength and range of motion may be compromised for individuals living with arthritis. This makes opening jars extremely difficult. An electric jar opener is a lifesaver in this situation as it folds on itself and can neatly be tucked away in a cabinet until needed. The rubber pads keep it fixed in place, so it won’t slide off the table while you open it.
4. Carton Holders
Most people like to add milk to their cereal or creamer to their coffee. When you’re preparing your meal with dairy products like milk and cream, you must have enough strength and range of motion to pick up the carton and pour into your bowl or cup. These cartons may be heavy and without these physical abilities, it using milk may be a struggle. Carton holders, made of plastic, are equipped with long handles. The carton caddy can also be used for other beverages and baking ingredients.
5. Fruit and Vegetable Chopper
If you do not use a food processor to chop your vegetables, you may want to consider a heavy duty manual chopper. It is designed to chop entire vegetables and fruits in one sweeping motion. Once chopped, you can easily transport the vegetables into your dish. I love using my vegetable chopper or onions in various recipes to prevent my eyes from burning.
6. Automatic Stirrer
Any true Italian knows the secret to good sauce is homemade. This requires letting it simmer on the stove top for hours while stirring often. Stirring is necessary to ensure your sauce is not burning at the bottom of the pan. This may cause a problem for your wrist, as the constant motion may increase inflammation. The automatic stirrer handles all the stirring and can handle everything from risottos to thick stews. It is designed to be quiet and easy to clean.
7. Non-Slip Mats
Whether you’re chopping foods on the cutting board or working on a different surface, it’s not always easy to keep boards or cookware from sliding around the counter top. You may want to try silicone mats that are skid and slip-resistant to keep your boards from sliding during use. It also functions as a trivet, pot holder, anti-slip pad for mixing bowls, jar, and garlic peeler. Dycem is also another one of my solutions for keeping cookware secure.
8. Suction Peelers
For those with painful thumbs and wrists, a suction peeler works like magic. Its large suction base adheres very well to any surface and it makes peeling vegetable and fruits with one hand easier. Two prongs are attached to the base which securely holds the fruit. It can hold apples, oranges, cucumbers, zucchini, squash and other items.
9. Food Holders
Tong-like food holders are great for people with arthritis, as it is easy to hold and allows a better grip on slippery onions or tomatoes while chopping and cutting. This slicing aid protects your fingers from injury and is made of durable, food grade stainless steel. It allows for easier and more perfected cutting.
10. Knob turners
While we can opt for touch sensitive faucets, most of our stoves and ovens have knobs that require turning. This can be especially painful for individuals living with arthritis. Knob turners can make turning knobs and adjusting temperatures a cinch. This kitchen aid involves less grip strength and range of motion.
Have you tried any of the above devices? If you’re a person with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or even a disability that has limited the mobility of your wrists, try one of the above solutions and let me know how it worked for you.