9 kitchen gadgets and essentials that make healthy cooking a breeze

June 25, 2019 | by Toni Havala, MS, RD, LDN
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

The saying, “Failure to plan is a plan to fail,” holds true for eating healthy.

Meal planning and prepping is how you put your healthy eating goals into action.

While kitchen gadgets can sometimes be more hype than helpful, these kitchen basics and gadgets are essentials for every kitchen.

Clear glass or BPA-free plastic storage containers

Ever buy fresh fruit and vegetables with the best intention of eating more produce only to find them shriveled up at the bottom of your produce drawer?

The trick to getting those foods from the grocery store to your family’s mouths is to cut them up (or buy pre-cut) and put in attractive clear containers at eye level in the fridge. It’s all about convenience and eye appeal. Watch them disappear!

Food scale

It’s important to know how much you’re eating. Portions are important. Even healthy foods can be high in calories. For example, one ounce of nuts is about 180 calories. If you’re eyeballing foods and guessing amounts, it is easy to overdo it. The OXO Good Grips digital food scale is a favorite because it’s very simple to use and clean.

Air fryer

After hearing many of my patients tell me how much they love their air fryer, I decided to purchase one, too. Now I see the attraction.

At 120 calories per tablespoon of cooking oil (including olive oil), frying really makes foods high-calorie! Air fryers speed cooking time, reduce or eliminate the fat needed for cooking, and can replicate the crunch of fried foods without the added calories from fat. With an air fryer, you can make crispy fish and chicken without the added fat.

Multicooker

Multicookers (the best-known appliance on the market is the Instant Pot) are one-pot wonders that speed the cooking of almost any food.

This gadget functions as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer and rice cooker but is much faster than the other appliances. It’s great for cooking dried legumes such as black beans. No need to soak the beans overnight and cook for hours. It takes an hour and a half from start to finish and they are delicious.

Salad spinner

With food safety concerns on the rise, salad spinners come in handy to wash, clean and dry your leafy greens. A large salad spinner can hold 8-10 cups of salad greens. It’s helpful to wash a large batch of greens and just keep them in the spinner until you are ready to use them. This way you’ve got prepped greens ready to go anytime.

Immersion (hand) blenders

Immersion blenders are compact, stand up tools that work as a blender. You put the handheld blender into the soup, sauce, hummus or pesto you’re making and it blends it in the cooking bowl or pot. This saves transferring the hot soup to a blender, making it much easier to make vegetable-based soups and sauces.

It can also help you cut back on fat in creamed soups. Rather than thickening soup with cream, you can use the immersion blender to blend the vegetables to create a thicker texture. You can eliminate the cream entirely in soups such as cream of cauliflower by doing this.

Mini food processor

This gadget is a smaller food processor that is great for grinding oat or nut flour, mincing garlic, herbs and spices, and chopping vegetables. It is easier to store and wash due to its small size.  It’s perfect for little jobs that you might not want to do by hand, such as making energy bars.

Microplane zester

A zester is wonderful to grate nutmeg and ginger or zest oranges, lemons or limes. Grated citrus is a healthy way to bump up the flavor of salad dressings, marinades, chicken and fish without adding salt. Freshly-grated spices are much more flavorful than ground spices and really boost flavor. You can also easily grate carrots, hard cheese and chocolate.

Good quality chef’s knife

Last but not least: a good chopping knife. If your budget is limited, spend extra on one high-quality chef’s knife rather than getting an entire set of mediocre knives. A high-quality knife will last a lifetime when sharpened regularly and makes meal prep so much more enjoyable!

Endeavor Health® Weight Management at Edward-Elmhurst Health offers both surgical and non-surgical options, including nutritional support, to help you achieve permanent weight loss and the healthy, active life you were meant to live.  Learn more.

Related blogs:

What's so bad about the white stuff?
9 tips that will transform your food shopping
Healthy food swaps you’ll barely notice
How clean are you eating?

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