We have all said that we want to eat healthier, but how do you actually make it happen? Busy schedules and stressful lives often mean we turn to comfort food instead of health food.
Research shows that spending time in the kitchen and cooking your own meals can lead to healthy eating habits long term. With a few pieces of kitchen equipment in your household toolkit, you can improve your eating habits and maybe save a little time and money, too.
The blender has become synonymous with smoothies over the past few years. Smoothies are a great way to up your intake of fruits and vegetables, and are the perfect breakfast on the go or post-workout recovery drink. Simply throw your fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and other ingredients into a blender and you have a healthy meal in minutes.
Blenders can also be used to make soups, dressings, and sauces that are healthier alternatives to store-bought products. Packaged varieties often contain high amounts of sugar and salt, making your own using one small piece of kitchen equipment ensures that you are in control of exactly what goes into them.
Steamed vegetables are typically lower in fat and calories than their fried counterparts, and lower in sugar and salt than canned or frozen or canned options. Take advantage of seasonal produce by cooking it quickly and easily.
Aside from vegetables, this piece of kitchen equipment can cook just about anything from grains to seafood — including entire meals at one time. The power of steam cooks food quickly while still locking in all of its flavor. Most models are see-through, which makes it easy to monitor your food as it cooks.
One deterrent to eating healthy is the time it takes to wash and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables. A salad spinner takes care of that by making prep a snap.
While it is called a salad spinner, this piece of kitchen equipment can be used for just about any type of fresh fruit or vegetable. They are inexpensive and durable, making them a good financial investment as well. Simple add your greens or other produce along with a little water and you have clean and ready to eat food in a matter of seconds.
A slicer is a great companion to a salad spinner. Once your fuits and vegetables are washed and ready to eat, slice them quickly and easily using a mandoline. A mandoline uses a flat blade to create uniform slices that are great for cooking because all of the pieces will cook evenly. It can do everything from slicing potatoes to julienning carrots and just about anything in between.
A staple in many homes, the slow cooker (or Crock Pot as it’s sometimes known) encourages healthy eating in several ways.
Slow cookers recipes typically have cook times of 6-8 hours, which requires advance planning and meal preparation. With a little bit of forethought, you can resist the urge to hit the drive through after a long day at work and instead come home to a healthy meal that is ready to eat.
It is nearly impossible to fry something in a slow cooker, and many recipes call for braising or boiling. One word of caution though — slow cooker recipes often call for fatty cuts of meat like chicken thighs or pork shoulder that become more tender while cooking. Try to keep these in moderation and pair them with vegetables or other healthy options.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from a slow cooker, a pressure cooker greatly reduces the amount of time needed to cook most foods.
If you are looking to go vegetarian or vegan, look now further than a pressure cooker for preparing beans, lentils, and rice. No need for rinsing or soaking, just add to the pressure cooker and you will have fully cooked results in about 30 minutes that are healthier and fresher than canned or dried products.
Pressure cookers can also be used to make oatmeal and other grains, which are staples for meal preparation. Cook a batch on the weekend and have healthy eating options all week long.
These pieces of kitchen equipment are just a few items for your kitchen toolkit. Once you have the basics covered, the possibilities are endless. Kiss those high-calorie restaurant meals goodbye and say hello to a whole new world of healthy eating!
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