You may know that you need to eat healthy in order to maintain a proper body weight and to prevent chronic disease, but do you have the right tools to help you do it? Your journey to better health begins in the kitchen – a kitchen that is not only stocked full of healthy food staples, but utensils and appliances that make it easier for you to prepare and eat lower-fat, nutrient dense foods. Here are a few suggestions:
Meal Preparation Helpers:
- Food processor/chopper: A commonly cited barrier to eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables is a lack of time to prepare them (e.g., wash and cut for serving). Using a food processor will slice, dice, and chop your fresh vegetables for you with a push of a button. All you have to do is add them to your favorite salads, pasta entrees, and side dishes.
- Blender: With a blender you can make homemade smoothies that are lower in added sugars, fat, and salt than the commercial brands. You can also make purees from fresh fruits and vegetables to make healthy homemade soups and dips.
- Citrus Juicer: Nothing tastes better than fresh-squeezed juice. Ensure you are getting 100% all-natural juice by making your own juice with a juicer, by so doing, you can control what goes into it.
- Slow Cooker/Crock-pot: A slow cooker is another time saving appliance that allows you to control the nutrient quality and caloric content of the ingredients that you are consuming. Make healthy casseroles, chili, soups, and other meals for the whole family in a crock-pot. Put your ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and by the time you come home for dinner, your wholesome meal will be ready.
- Rice Cooker: There is no pot watching needed with a rice cooker. All you need to do is to add whole-grain rice and water, then push a button. Whole-grain rice is a great base for meals (e.g., steamed vegetables and lean chicken on a bed of rice) and desserts (e.g., rice pudding).
Portion Control Helpers:
- Portion control bowls and plates: Some dinnerware manufacturers are helping to take the guess work out of determining the appropriate serving size by making bowls and plates that have pre-marked measurements. Depending on the manufacturer and brand, measurements may start at 1/4 cup serving size and go on up to 1 1/2 to 2 cups.
- Kitchen Scale: A kitchen scale is a useful tool that aids with portion control during meal preparation. It helps you to determine the amount of the ingredient that you will be using down to the ounce or gram.
Healthy eating is a way of life. To help you live that life you need the appropriate environment and tools necessary to implement it. By stocking your kitchen with health promoting appliances, you increase your chances of maintaining a lifestyle that fosters well-being. If you fear that cost is an issue, consider putting these items on your birthday or other gift-giving holiday list. Also, these cooking tools would make great “rewards” to treat yourself when you accomplish a major health goal.
Do you have a kitchen appliance that helps you to cook healthy meals that you can’t live without? Share with us, we want to know!