Most of us have experienced that achy, tenuous feeling in our knees, wrists, ankles … pretty much any joint … that makes our day just a bit harder. Maybe it’s your knees after a challenging run, your ankles on a long walk, or you just wake up on a rainy day, and everything hurts. While the connection between cold weather and joint pain is still a mystery, there are a few theories.

One theory “relates to drops in barometric pressure, which cause tendons, muscles, and the surrounding tissues to expand.” Another theory looks at barometric pressure in people whose joint cartilage has been worn away. When joint cartilage wears away it exposes nerves in the bones, which means that some people may be more “sensitive to changes in barometric pressure.” Plus, winter’s shorter, darker days cause an increase in depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and poor moods how we experience the severity of pain, amplifies it.

Enter plant-based foods!

Certain foods are known to help manage joint pain — along with being nutritious and tasty. Plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from oxidative damage. They also have anti-inflammatory compounds, which are necessary for reducing inflammation-related joint pain.

In particular, focus on omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, seeds, cruciferous veggies, colorful fruits, extra virgin olive oil, beans, lentils, roots veggies, and whole grains to get the most pain-fighting powers from your food!

We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App  — with over 20,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Whole Foods Archives!

1. Bean Ball Sandwiches

Bean Ball Sandwiches

Source: Bean Ball Sandwiches

Everyone enjoys a good sub, yet you may think you have to give this staple up when you go vegan. Not true! This Bean Ball Sandwiches recipe by Wholesome LLC is the perfect vegan alternative that recreates that meaty texture with pain-fighting beans.

2. Wholegrain Flaxseed and Sesame Crackers

Wholegrain Flaxseed and Sesame Crackers

Source: Wholegrain Flaxseed and Sesame Crackers

Crackers are one of those great go-to snacks that also happen to be one of the most processed foods on the grocery store shelf. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to give them up, but try your hand at a homemade version. This Wholegrain Flaxseed and Sesame Crackers recipe by Namita Tiwari is super easy and loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid-rich flaxseed!

3. Simple Homemade Pumpkin Seed Butter

Simple Homemade Pumpkin Seed Butter

Source: Simple Homemade Pumpkin Seed Butter

Looking for yummy ways to sneak healthy fat-filled and anti-inflammatory seeds into your diet? It doesn’t get easier or tastier than this Simple Homemade Pumpkin Seed Butter recipe by Nikki Stokes! Spread on a piece of wholegrain toast for breakfast, make classic aunts on a log as a snack, or even substitute for nut butter to make plant-based creams and sauces.

4. Lemony Berry Salad

Lemony Berry Salad

Source: Lemony Berry Salad

Yes, colorful fruit adds not only beauty but also pain-fighting properties to your diet. But, maybe you’re also taking care of your sugar consumption and fruit contains fructose. Focus your fruit intake on berries! This Lemony Berry Salad recipe by Jesse Lane Lee is rich in color and low fructose, antioxidant-rich berries.

5. Olive Oil and Orange Cookies

Olive Oil and Orange Cookies

Source: Olive Oil and Orange Cookies

Extra virgin olive oil is an incredibly diverse ingredient — used raw, splashed on the grill, sprinkled for roasting, and as a healthier, plant-based baking substitute such as in these Olive Oil and Orange Cookies recipe by Angelina Papanikolaou. Enjoy a treat while also getting a dose of anti-inflammatory healthy fats!

6. White Bean and Oat Omelet With Creamy Mushroom Filling

White Bean and Oat Omelet With Creamy Mushroom Filling

Source: White Bean and Oat Omelet With Creamy Mushroom Filling

This White Bean and Oat Omelet With Creamy Mushroom Filling recipe by Kirsten Kaminski is a stellar example of how diverse plant-based ingredients are when it comes to recreating animal product staples. nutrient-dense and pain-fighting, start your winter days out with this omelet!

7. Lentil Masala With Curry Cauliflower

Lentil Masala With Curry Cauliflower

Source: Lentil Masala With Curry Cauliflower

I admit that even though lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and anti-inflammatory compounds, they’re a bit bland on the flavor side. Spice things up with this flavor-filled Lentil Masala With Curry Cauliflower recipe by Lena Novak!

8. Earthy Beetroot Soup

Earthy Beetroot Soup

Source: Earthy Beetroot Soup

Winter is the perfect time to make your favorite soups and stews! Give your achy joints the love they need with this root veggie-based Earthy Beetroot Soup recipe by Mati Michael.

9. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Pecans

Roasted Brussels sprouts with Garlic Pecans

Source: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Pecans

Brussels Sprouts are usually a hard sell to most, yet this Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Pecans recipe by Caroline Doucet makes them palatable even to the most staunch hater! Roasted for a bit of crunch and then layered with a savory-sweet concoction of garlic and pecans.

10. Basil Coconut Brown Rice

Basil Coconut Brown Rice

Source: Basil Coconut Brown Rice

A good rice dish isn’t necessarily difficult to come by … or even improvise … but one that also fights joint pain takes a bit more intention and forethought. This Basil Coconut Brown Rice recipe by Crissy Cavanaugh not only sources superior whole grain brown rice, but it also uses healthy fat coconut and nutrient-dense flavorings!

11. Spicy Seeded Herb Bread

Spicy Seeded Herb Bread

Source: Spicy Seeded Herb Bread

Finding bread that doesn’t trigger a guilty conscience is tricky. This Spicy Seeded Herb Bread recipe by Robin Runner is something you can feel truly good about! Gluten-free and loaded with plant-based anti-inflammatory powerhouses including flaxseed and chia seed, a slice of this will get you going in the morning.

12. Trail Mix Energy Bites

Trail Mix Energy Bites

Source: Trail Mix Energy Bites

These Trail Mix Energy Bites by Kat Condon are the ultimate achy joint-friendly snack on the go. Super simple to make and filled with all the plant-based goodies you could desire including gluten-free oats and quinoa, omega-3 fatty acid-rich flaxseed, and inflammation-fighting pumpkin seeds.

13. Hearty Superfood Salad With Arugula, Kale, and Beets

Hearty Superfood Salad With Arugula, Kale, and Beets

Source: Hearty Superfood Salad With Arugula, Kale, and Beets

Getting your hands on a truly tasty, filling, and healthy salad can be a challenge, yet this Hearty Superfood Salad With Arugula, Kale, and Beets recipe by Linda Wagner hit all the marks. Based around satiating and anti-inflammatory root veggie beets, this salad harnesses the power of other satiating superfoods including kale, sweet potato, avocado, quinoa, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds.  

14. Tropical Chia Fruit Cups

Tropical Chia Fruit Cups

Source: Tropical Chia Fruit Cups

If you’ve got that early morning sweet tooth, this Tropical Chia Fruit Cups recipe by Julie Zimmer is a great way to start your day without skyrocketing that blood sugar. Plus, you’ll get a healthy dose of joint-friendly chia seeds and anti-inflammatory colorful fruit.

15. Hearty High-Protein Lentil, Kidney Bean, and Chickpea Chili

Hearty High-Protein Lentil, Kidney Bean, and Chickpea Chili

Source: Hearty High-Protein Lentil, Kidney Bean, and Chickpea Chili

Any winter recipe list has to include a chili recipe! Super satiating and fill with achy joint fighting beans, this Hearty High-Protein Lentil, Kidney Bean, and Chickpea Chili recipe by Logan Dunn and Lexus Osman will also keep you cozy on a snowy day.

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

Easy Ways to Help the Planet:

  • Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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