My healthy eating journey began 20 years ago, and boy have things changed since then! Back then, I was living paycheck to paycheck, and spent all of my money on healthy groceries. Now, I have slowly built up my collection of kitchen tools that make eating healthy so much easier. I have come to think of these items as essential kitchen tools for a healthy kitchen.
There are certain kitchen tools that I am fine with not having the best of the best. I mean to me, a whisk is a whisk is a whisk, whether it costs $1 or $25. However, there are some tools that I truly believe you should spend a little more money on to get the best quality. Through trial and error, I have found that buying certain items cheap does not pay off in the long run.
If there is a kitchen tool you use all the time, it is usually a good idea to do a little research and look at reviews of different brands. If you just go for the cheapest model, you may end up with broken parts or frustration at the poor quality, only to end up buying a higher quality item later. Save yourself the time, money, and hassle, and go for the best model that falls within your budget.
These five items are the center of my healthy eating life, and without them I would be lost. I will explain to you how each tool helps keep my healthy eating life humming along smoothly, and give you a recommendation for which brand to buy. Whenever you can, go higher quality with these items, but at least have one in your kitchen as an essential.
#1 – Cutting board
When you are eating healthy, that means you are preparing a lot of your own meals at home. This will include a lot of veggie chopping and meat preparation, which requires a good cutting board, or two. You want a cutting board that is large, durable, and easy to clean.
I have tried every type of cutting board there is, including wooden, glass, plastic, and even those flimsy little plastic guys. But then I was introduced to Norwex products and found this awesome cutting board made out of rice husks. Norwex is dedicated to helping to save the Earth and making your home a cleaner, safer place. This cutting board was my new best friend from day one. It is sturdy, stays clean, and seems like it’s going to last a long time. The only complaint I had was that it was kind of small. But then they came out with a larger size, and now it is perfect! I have the small one for quick jobs, and the larger one for massive amounts of chopping. It is well worth the money!
#2 – Salad spinner
We eat a lot of salad in our house, at least once a day. There is always spinach, kale, and many kinds of lettuce hanging out in our produce drawer, and it’s locally farmed whenever possible. Bagged lettuces and salad mixes are convenient, and we do use them sometimes, but I prefer fresh bunches of greens. However, that means they need to be cleaned, which calls for a really good salad spinner. Once you wash lettuce, you need to get it super dry so it doesn’t turn bad. A salad spinner gets the job done easily and quickly.
The first salad spinner I had was one where you pushed down on a button on the lid to spin the bowl. What a pain…and it broke. My husband decided he was going to buy me a new one. I really wanted an electric one, thinking it would be the best bet. Well, the box arrived and it was one with a hand crank. I was not happy. But he swore to me that this one got the best reviews, even better than the electrical ones. I decided to give it a try. The hand crank was super easy to use and turned very smoothly. My lettuce came out clean and dry. Ok, so husband gets an A for that purchase. I strongly recommend this salad spinner.
#3 – Cast iron skillet
My mother bought me a cast iron skillet years ago. She swore to me that I would use it all the time, but it sat in the back of a cabinet for years. It was just so heavy, and I didn’t see why I should lug that thing out when I could just use a regular skillet. Then one day, I took it out and tried it, and I use it all the time now. I use it mostly to brown meats and then transfer them to the oven to finish baking off. Everything just cooks better in this pan.
Investing in a quality cast-iron skillet can literally last you a lifetime. Even when the thing looks beat up and overused, it will still be your go-to pan. You just have to be sure to clean it properly and keep it seasoned. Your skillet will come with specific care instructions to follow.
#4 – Dutch oven
Ah, another kitchen gift from my mother that sat in the cabinet unused for years. Now, I use it all the time. The best use for a Dutch oven is to make soup. It’s big and deep enough for a large batch. This pot is also great because it can it go from the stovetop right into the oven, which makes it great for braising.
Again, investing in a quality Dutch oven is smart because it will last forever. This set has a 4 quart and 7 quart pot included, and I love the red color!
#5 – Chef’s knife
I recall back in my college days cutting tomatoes and cucumbers for a salad with a cheap steak knife. That thought makes me cringe now. A good chef’s knife is so important in a kitchen where you will be doing lots of chopping. The high quality makes it easy to cut anything, and a lot safer than a steak knife. I use my chef’s knife every single day multiple times a day.
I had a hard time spending the money for a good chef’s knife until one year for my birthday, my husband got me a gift card to Williams-Sonoma. I walked around the store once, and knew what I wanted to splurge on: a chef’s knife. The glass case of knives was so intimidating though…what the heck was the difference? They were all knives. Well, I knew I wasn’t about to spend $800 on a knife, so first I narrowed down my price range. Then I asked the salesperson to help me understand the qualities of each knife. I finally settled on this Wusthof beauty. It is comfortable in my hand and gets the job done quickly and easily every time. You just have to keep it sharpened and dry it as soon as you wash it.
Look for my future post with another round of essential kitchen tools for a healthy kitchen!