Mealtime can be quite a dilemma for a person with arthritis. How can you enjoy a meal that has made you miserable thanks to all the slicing, dicing, mixing and stirring involved in it’s creation? I’ll tell you how – think shortcuts easy open packages. pre-cooked.pre-chopped – anything that will cut down on time and energy in the kitchen.

I’m going to work my way through a grocery store’s sections and see just how many examples I can think of that are available in my area.

PRODUCE DEPARTMENT – Fruits and vegetables can be purchased cleaned, cut and ready to use in your favorite recipes. Stir-fry veggies, shredded lettuce, vegetable trays, baby carrots, spinach, salad mix, etc. The only section that may be more help would be the

DELI – Here you will find a plethora of helpful meal items. Pizza, sandwiches, soups, roasted and broasted chickens, salads, side dishes – you could bring home a complete meal from this department and simply heat and eat when you get home. With people in general being so short of time these days – most stores have really expanded their deli departments to include almost anything you could imagine for lunch and dinner.

DAIRY CASE – Shredded cheese, soft cream cheese, whipped butter, chip dip, veggie dip, cheese ballsnow, if they could just come up with a half gallon carton of milk that can be opened without having to get the meat cleaver out

BAKERY – I’ve never been much of a baker and I do love my sweets, so the in-store bakery has always been a favorite spot for me. Fresh bread, cookies, cakes, brownies, donuts, dinner rollsI buy them all. Why spend a day kneading dough, or switching cookie sheets? Save the mixing bowls and measuring cups for special occasions

FROZEN FOODS – Got a recipe that needs chopped onions or peppers? I get mine here in the frozen food section and save some wear and tear on my hands. I keep a bag of each in my freezer and just measure out what I need for recipes. I find myself reaching for these to add flavor to most of my meals (scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, soups, casseroles, etc.).
Frozen potatoes (baked, mashed, French fried, skins, hash brown, etc.) are another handy item to keep in the freezer, as are vegetables for stew or soup.

Keep an eye on packaging as you’re shopping. Doesn’t do you any good to get home and find what you thought was going to be an easy meal has turned into an ordeal because you can’t get any of it open. I like the new “zip strip” packaging. Plastic bags that you can just rip the end off and use the resealable plastic strip for storage. Problems with all the vacuum sealing going in in the world of food these days? I wipe off the package and cut the whole thing in half with a knife. This breaks the vacuum seal and you can usually pull the contents right out of the packaging.

We’re always looking for ways to make getting through the day a little easier. If you’ve got any tips you’d like to share,
send them to us and we’ll put them up so everyone can give them a try!