4 Adaptive Kitchen Tools and Tips for RA
Working and cooking in the kitchen with RA can be a bit frustrating sometimes. That’s because pain, stiffness, and swelling in the smaller joints of the hands and wrists can make cooking a difficult and painful experience.
Whether it’s opening stubborn food storage, lifting heavy pots and pans, or using a knife to cut fruits and vegetables, the kitchen should be a welcoming place, even for those of us with RA.
4 RA-friendly kitchen tips
Here are some tips and tools that I use in my own kitchen to help cook with ease.
1. Opening stubborn jars with ease
I am very lucky to have a sister who works as an occupational therapist and constantly gives me ideas to be more functional with RA. One of her best tips is a simple hack to open stubborn twist jars.
All you need is a butter knife and a jar. To open the jar: continuously whack the blade of the butter knife on the edge of the lid making small dents as you turn the jar in a complete circle. Eventually, you’ll hear the seal break on the jar, and the circle in the top middle of the jar will pop up. Now, you can easily turn and remove the lid after all the heavy work is done for you.
2. Get a grip
Maintaining hand and grip strength can be a difficult task for many people living with RA, especially those with advanced disease. Fortunately, there is a large market for different grips for different handles or objects that can easily be found on Amazon and in local big-box stores. Fill your kitchen with various grips to make cooking and accessing items easier.
Consider adding doorknob grips, silicon jar grips, smaller bottle grips, and cooking and serving tools with larger grip handles to help create a positive and pain-free kitchen experience. When in doubt, add a grip!
3. Opt for pre-cut produce
Buying pre-cut fruits and veggies is a great way to save some energy and protect your joints in the kitchen. Although this might be more costly in the long run, the benefits may be worth the extra cost for some people with RA. Focus on pre-cut produce that is more difficult to cut, like carrots, squash, watermelon, etc. Save money and purchase the easier-to-cut produce whole as before.1
Moreover, maybe you have someone who would be willing to spend 30 minutes and pre-cut your fruits and veggies as a favor. Have this person cut the produce in various shapes and sizes so that you have a variety to cook and eat.
4. Go lightweight
Many materials used in kitchen cookware, such as cast iron, metal, and ceramic pots and pans, can be extremely heavy and cumbersome to lift with painful hands and wrists. I know that I rarely use my cast iron pan for this very reason. It’s just too much for me to lift. Try opting for lightweight kitchen cookware that is more manageable to use. Materials like silicon are a great glass replacement.1 Switch out cast iron skillets and larger metal pots for lighter cookie sheets and cake pans.1 Get creative with what type of cookware can cook different style meals!
What adaptive tools and tips do you use in your kitchen? Share your knowledge below!
What lifestyle changes have you found to be most helpful in managing your RA?
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