Living a healthy lifestyle means preparing fresh meals at home on a regular basis. While the latest kitchen gadgets and appliances might be intriguing, just like when it comes to ingredients, simple is best. A small but useful collection of tools in your kitchen can go a long way in helping you make the most of healthy eating at home.
Best Cookware for Healthy Eating
The following seven items can be game-changers when it comes to meal prep, helping you save time, pack a punch with flavor, make clean-up easier and do more with less.
1. Cast iron skillet
Why cook with cast iron? For one, it’s naturally non-stick. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet functions like a chemically coated non-stick pan and if taken care of, can last for decades. Because cast iron is non-stick, you can use less oil for cooking and save on calories and fats.
A cast iron skillet is also multi-functional. Take it from the stovetop to the oven with ease for a good sear or bake. Cast iron pans are the perfect way to get an evenly cooked steak without needing a grill.
2. A quality knife set
Why make chopping, slicing and dicing harder than necessary? Investing in a well-made set of knives will serve you well in the long run and make food prep more efficient. Qualities to look for in good knives include stain resistance (stainless steel with a higher chromium content helps the metal resist rust and stains) and longevity of the blade sharpness. Higher-quality knives still need to be well maintained, but their edges shouldn’t dull as quickly as lower-quality sets.
Forged knives, or one-piece knives cut from a single piece of steel rather than a blade attached to a separate handle, tend to be more sturdy and won’t bend over time.
This all-in-one appliance has been gaining more attention in recent years, and for good reason. One instant pot can do the jobs of multiple other appliances – a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice maker, steamer, sauté pan and warmer. Although this appliance comes with a heftier price tag, it allows you to cook meals that would normally take hours in a matter of minutes. Whether you’re cooking meat, grains or vegetables – or throwing all three together in a stew – an insta-pot can do it all.
4. Quality blender
“Quality” seems to be a buzzword on this list, but if we’re looking to pare a kitchen down to only the essentials, quality craftsmanship and appliances that last are a must. Smoothies might be the first to come to mind for a blender’s uses, but a high-quality blender can do so much more. Whip up sauces, delectable drinks, broths, soups and more. Higher-quality blenders typically come with a multi-year warranty, meaning you can get potentially hundreds or even thousands of uses out of one before the blade or motor even begins to deteriorate – another smart investment for a healthy kitchen.
5. Food processor
A blender and a food processor may seem similar in operation, so why would you need both? As it turns out, a good food processor can perform tasks a blender can’t, and vice versa. Food processors have a wider bowl and bigger blades, making them more ideal for shredding, slicing and mixing, rather than blending and liquefying. Food processors work well for whipping up nut butters, guacamole and dips, dough mixtures and batters. Don’t feel like chopping a whole onion or dicing an entire pepper? Toss it in the food processor for a few seconds and the work is done.
Although wooden cutting boards serve their purpose well, flexible chopping mats made from high-density plastic have a few advantages. Their thin design makes for easy storage and the ability to funnel your chopped ingredients into a mixing bowl or pot, avoiding spills and messes. Plus, the material is dishwasher-safe and easy to clean, and many have antibacterial properties, making them ideal for cutting raw meats.
7. Food storage containers
There’s no use in having quality appliances to make fresh, healthy meals if you can’t properly store the leftovers. It’s time to throw out your mismatched plastic food containers in favor of a nice set of appropriately sized food storage containers made of materials that won’t melt, leak or crack. Durability and portability are important, too. Can the containers withstand freezing and re-heating? Is the size appropriate for healthy portions? Look for dishwasher-safe sets with air-tight lids, and if space is an issue, find a set with pieces that stack and lock into each other to stay organized and save room.
Must-Haves for a Healthy Kitchen
Whether you’re a pro in the kitchen or new to the healthy eating scene, outfitting your kitchen wisely can have a lasting impact on both your nutrition and the way you spend your time.
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