I’m a bit of a kitchen gadget junkie. Not just because I love the way the look (sleek, silver and shiny), but because they help me to eat healthier. It’s not just the ingredient list that can make or break a healthy meal, the tools used to put it together can cut down on calories and cooking time, boost flavor and nutrition and protect against disease. Here are my top picks….
1. High powered blender – I use my Vitamix every single day. No, that’s not an exaggeration. In the morning I juice up spinach, frozen mango and lime (Yum!); I also make a mean protein smoothie out of peanut butter, almond milk, Greek yogurt and frozen bananas. It also makes salad dressing, sauces, soups and my new favorite thing: ginger syrup. I throw in ginger (peel and all) & water and blend.
2. Cast iron skillet – Yes, your grandma’s frying pan… although it can be used for way more than frying (Frittata, anyone?). If you season it properly, it’s the only non-stick pan you’ll need, plus it gives food extra flavor, adds iron and doesn’t flake like Teflon (which contains PFOA which may be a carcinogen).
3. Soda maker – If you come over to my house, you’re sure to get a SodaStream demo. It’s pretty straightforward: insert bottle of water, close up contraption, give it a couple pumps until you hear it whistle and then “burp” the penguin (I have the Penguin model). Then I add either freshly squeezed grapefruit juice or ginger syrup. So good! So much healthier than the sugar-filled stuff.
4. Wood/bamboo cutting board – If you haven’t already, ditch the plastic cutting boards. They harbor way more harmful bacteria than their wooden counterparts. Get a heavy, sturdy board (less chance of warping) and keep it handy for chopping all those fruits and veggies (most experts say to keep a separate board for raw meat). Bonus: bamboo gets an eco-checkmark for sustainability.
5. Grater – Studies say that people think portions are more plentiful when food is shredded or thinly sliced – yes, even cheese and chocolate. I agree!
6. Zester – Want a zero-calorie way to jazz up flavor? Add zest. I use citrus zest in pancake batter and stir-fries, or add it into muffins, cakes, breads, biscotti, sauces and salads for fat-free flavor and extra vitamin C.
7. Roasting pan –A roasting pan is a relatively new addition to my cooking arsenal – and boy do I love it! I cut up all kinds of root veggies, coat them in canola oil, salt and pepper and roast ’em up to add to salads or to eat as sides (my favorite right now is roasted cauliflower with a spicy sundried tomato dip). Having a deep dish pan has definitely upped my veggie consumption – and I use it to bake big batches of homemade granola too.
What’s your favorite healthy kitchen gadget?