From the simple to the sublime, a well-stocked kitchen requires the right tools! With new products on the market, along with some of my time-tested old favorites, we have no excuse other than to make healthy foods available to us.
You may have many of the more common tools, like measuring cups and spoons but maybe some are missing and it’s time for an upgrade. My list starts out with the most common and least expensive, moving all the way through appliances that are great investments–especially if they offer multi-functional features so you can consolidate appliances, saving valuable counter space!
Easily allows you to cut your avocado in half, remove the pit and create beautiful, even slices for salads, sandwiches or to top a wild salmon filet.
This pump container allows you to fill it with your oil of preference, like olive or avocado oil, and pump to pressurize a fine spray. Great for coating vegetables before roasting, or preparing a pan on the stovetop.
I don’t like waste, especially that of a beautiful and fresh strawberry. The huller removes the stem, leaving the fruit intact.
Color-coded stainless measuring cups are ideal for measuring dry ingredients and usually found in sets. I usually have ¼, 1/3, ½ and 1 full cup options. I love the ones with the different colored handles, so I don’t have to try to read the teeny-tiny etchings.
I prefer a 2-cup measure for liquids because the liquid measures can be different from solid foods and it helps when you can see the fill line and measurements from the top to make sure the portion is accurate.
There are several available on the market in all different price ranges. You do not need anything fancy, but if this is your excuse to invest in a powerful blender, seize the opportunity! Blenders of this size are great for soups, blended beverages, or making smoothies of a larger proportion. You can also make your own oat flour by grinding oats. The typical blender costs around $60 and they can run up to $500 for high-powered ones that actually heat the ingredients if you run it for very long. This Vitamix is a middle-of-price-range, but powerful and useful kitchen tool.
For making smoothies, a small, single-serving personal blender like a bullet works best. The container usually has a two to three cup capacity. The mixing blade comes off the bottom and can be replaced with a sipping lid for travel. I appreciate not having to clean a large blender every time I make a smoothie, which is daily. Smaller blenders, with attachments, can run as little as $50.
With a wide variety of assorted colors, and two cups with to-go lids, this is a solid option.
The best food scales are small and compact and can fit in a drawer. Digital is ideal and one that weighs in grams, pounds and ounces, and allows you switch between them. A useful feature is the pull-out display. When you use the tare button, it allows you to place your plate or bowl on the scale, zero it out, then add your food ingredient. I usually use my food scale for measuring my proteins in ounces. Be sure to snag some batteries!
Glass containers with air-tight lids are best so you can store and reheat your foods in microwavable, oven-safe dishware. When I meal prep, I make around 6-8 at a time. Some are available with compartments which are useful if you have foods that you prefer to keep separate. They run around $30.
This blender is exactly as it sounds, with its wand-like handle, it allows you to immerse the small blending blade at the bottom and mix ingredients directly in your large pot on the stove. It’s perfect to make my delicious tomato soup recipe on page xx. They can run from $17 to $150, and I prefer something mid-range so it will have more power and longevity.
The new rage is the air fryer. These are so versatile, and can crisp foods giving them a crunchy texture, while decreasing the need for oil. Some models also toast, dehydrate and bake. It is ideal for reheating foods that normally would not microwave well. They cost around $150 for a good quality option but can be found for less.
This tool is invaluable and versatile, often combining many different functions and displacing other cooking equipment, like steamers and rice cookers. Pressure cookers allow you to save a substantial amount of time when cooking foods like dry beans and meats, as well tenderizing some types of meats. There are many well-known, high-quality brands that typically start around $80.
A simple pot with a stainless-steel steaming basket is perfect for stove-top applications, or steamers are often integrated into rice cookers or pressure cookers. Around $30.
Rice cookers are easy ways to cook all your grains, including oats, brown rice and quinoa. They are safe to use and keep your food warm until you’re ready to eat it. Starting around $45.
Indoor griddles are ideal for making everything from pancakes to paninis. I prefer the griddles that have interchangeable plates (one side is flat, and the other leaves grill marks) so you can quickly cook a butterflied chicken breast, vegetables or pancakes.
Healthy waffles are so versatile, and you can make-ahead waffles. I prefer Belgium waffle irons as they have deeper nooks for toppings. They come in round or square shapes, and I personally prefer the square so I can make sandwiches and other creative healthy eats.
Juicers come in so many brands and price ranges. The type of juicer I prefer is a centrifugal juicing machine. Different from a simple press, this can powerfully juice vegetables and citrus, and leave behind peels and rind. I use mine primarily for juicing whole lemons, including the rind, so I can have frozen lemon cubes on hand. Extracting the lemon oils from the rind is beneficial, so well worth the investment. They start around $50 but depending upon the power, can go up to $150. This may be an item you borrow, until you know you will use if often enough to make the investment worthwhile.
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