Dining-Out Tips for Arthritis

If you have arthritis, making smarter menu choices is key to dining out without triggering joint pain.

Q: I have arthritis, and there are so many different kinds of foods to avoid! I think I can figure this out for meals I cook at home, but are there guidelines for what to eat in restaurants?

A: You’re right — it can be difficult at first, but after a few weeks, making smart food choices will become second nature. I recommend the following menu selections for these favorite restaurant categories:

American Fare

  • Grilled fish or skinless chicken breast in olive oil and seasonings — with brown rice or a baked potato or sweet potato and lots of grilled, roasted, or steamed vegetables.
  • Salad entrées: variety of vegetables (request extra red peppers) with grilled chicken, shrimp, turkey breast, or lean ham. For dressing, use vinaigrette or request olive oil and vinegar on the side.
  • Sandwiches: turkey breast, lean ham, or grilled chicken breast on whole-grain bread, in a whole-wheat pita, or rolled in a whole-grain wrap. Optional avocado, roasted peppers, onion, tomato, and other vegetables.
  • Soups: gazpacho, black bean, lentil, vegetable, and low-fat butternut squash.

Japanese Food

  • Edamame, seaweed salad, California rolls (take advantage of sliced ginger!), and steamed vegetables.
  • Chicken or salmon teriyaki with steamed or sautéed vegetables and brown rice.

Chinese Food

  • Steamed whole fish with ginger — plus steamed brown rice and sautéed or steamed vegetables.
  • Steamed chicken, shrimp, or tofu with any vegetable combination — request “with ginger” and black bean or garlic sauce on the side) — use 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sauce on your entrée and enjoy with steamed brown rice.

Indian Food

  • Chicken/fish/tofu tikka (no masala), tandoori, or vindaloo with curried vegetables.
  • Dal (made with lentils) with side of curried vegetables.


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