Helpful Gadgets To Make Cooking Easier

10 Handy Kitchen Gadgets for Healthier Eating

Preparing your own meals is generally the best way to make the healthy way of eating part of your daily lifestyle. For many of us, this can seem like a daunting task each and every day--especially if we feel relatively unskilled in the kitchen or pressed for time. Stocking your home with the right kitchen gadgets can make cooking easier and more efficient. 

Spiral Slicer

Spiral slicers are a popular tool that can help you use vegetables to replace processed starches. They can allow you to turn zucchini, squash or other vegetables into a spiral shape great for “pastas” and salads! Think of a side of veggie “spaghetti” with butter alongside your grass-fed steak or adding spiral apple slices to your chicken salad at lunch! Bonus: the fun shape can convince kids to try veggies they might otherwise resist. Price range $30-$120

Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker is great for those with limited cooking time. This time saving tool is known for cooking a raw chicken breast in less than 10 minutes (using less energy to boot!). They can also be used for many other meats (even lobster tails!) and vegetables. I recommend them to all of my clients who work long hours or have long commutes, which can leave them less than 20 minutes to cook something healthy for dinner. Price range $50 – 200

Grater or Mandolin Slicer

Both of these tools are beneficial, but even having one or the other can be a great means to get your veggies in! I regularly use a grater for cauliflower to make lower-carb alternatives to traditional starchy foods such as rice, macaroni and cheese or pizza crusts. Either tool can be used to shred other vegetables you can use in salads, homemade soups or easy snacks. Grating cheese or frozen bacon for homemade bacon bits is fun as well!  Price range $10 - $30 (grater) or $20-$100 (mandolin slicer)

Slow Cooker

Slow cookers (a.k.a. Crockpots) have been around forever. Often seen at tailgate parties, they can be used for more than chip dips and little weenies! I use my slower cooker just about every Sunday, whether it’s for batch cooking chili or beef stew or just making pulled pork for dinner. The beauty is you can turn it on and leave it on while you do your Sunday rituals such as meal prep or just housework. At the end of the day, you’ve got meals ready that required little to no time from you. They’re well worth the price. In fact, the best one I’ve ever owned only cost  $45! Price range $20 - $99

Blender

Drinking your nutrients isn’t always ideal, but it can be an effective way to consume a high quality meal when you’re pressed for time. A blender can be a useful tool to create quick meals such as protein shakes/smoothies, soups, dips, and purees. They come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re more apt to just make a single protein shake for yourself in the morning, I suggest using a smaller blender that is easy to grab and go with minimal clean up versus your normal kitchen blender. A Vitamix is a great investment, since it works as a food processor for larger batches of whatever you’re looking to puree or process (e.g. nut butter, condiments). Stick blenders can be great for pureeing vegetable-based soups and sauces. Price range $50-700

Good Knives

Having a great set of knives is well worth the investment. A good chef knife can make trimming and cutting meats easier while good paring knives make veggie slicing and dicing less of a headache. Anytime I have a client complain about the amount of time it takes to cut fresh veggies, I know they’re likely using a lower quality knife. Plus, once you have good knives, you’ll want to use them and be more apt to cut up your produce as soon as you get home from the grocery store. As for ongoing knife “care,” many butcher departments in better grocery stores will sharpen your knives for free! Price $6 -$100 per knife

Cast Iron Pan

Everyone needs a great cooking pan--or two! As with quality knives, a good pan will make you more apt to spend more time cooking and take extra steps to make recipes healthier and more flavorful. An old school cast iron skillet will let you avoid Teflon or other nonstick coatings. Stainless steel can work for this purpose as well. Cast iron, however, can be more convenient because of its ability to go from cooktop to oven. A cast iron skillet is great for healthy stir-fries, steaks, eggs, and all your meats and veggies. My favorite use of this pan is making homemade fajitas!  Price range $20 - $100

Instant-Read Thermometer

Some of my clients who have less experience in the kitchen get frustrated paying good money for quality fish and meat when their cooking efforts end up less than stellar. Take the guess work out of the equation with a quality thermometer that will allow you to cook your healthy meats to perfection. Price $6 - $35

Zester

Great cooking is largely about seasoning! By all means, enjoy the benefits of a good dried spice rack, but take advantage of fresh seasonings as well. A zester can help you grate just enough flavor from citrus rinds, garlic, ginger, and hard cheeses to add a whole new level of taste to your meals. Price $8 - $20