If you missed my post on the first 5 Essential Kitchens Tools For a Healthy Kitchen, you can read it here.
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 six items help keep the center of my healthy eating life together, 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 as an essential.
#1 – Spiralizer
Zoodles have become a go-to dish for low-carb eaters, but even if you aren’t trying to go low-carb, veggie noodles are super fun to make and eat. It’s an easy way to get more veggies into your diet, and the fun spiral shapes make kids want to eat them too. I love making cold salads out of veggie noodles, or sometimes giving them a quick saute in a little bit of olive oil. My favorite veggies to spiralize are zucchini, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes.
I have tried a few different spiralizers, mostly because I was unhappy with each of them. I found the cheaper ones very difficult to use, unable to accommodate large veggies, and even had some pieces break. I strongly recommend the Vegetti. It is easy to use and simple to clean.
#2 – Muffin tin
Yes, I do have an obsession with homemade muffins. I love making healthier versions of my favorite muffins to have on hand for snacks for my entire family. This 24-tin muffin pan became my lifesaver for large batches of muffins that I want to freeze. I don’t have to bake half of them, wait, and then bake the other half. They all get done at once.
I also use my muffin tin to cook and freeze single servings of grains like steel-cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, and farro. Since these grains take longer to cook, I like to have them ready to go in the freezer all cooked. Then, I just need to defrost them when I need them. Muffin tins are also a great way to make single-serve egg cups. Just put your egg mixture with whatever veggies you want right in the tin, and bake. Then you can freeze them for quick, high-protein breakfasts.
#3 – Measuring cups and spoons
This may seem like a very basic kitchen tool, but when you are trying to maintain a healthy eating style and weight, measuring cups and spoons are so important. Any time I want to be careful of my portions, I measure. This is especially important with things like pasta, cereal, nuts, and cheese. These items are easy to over-pour, and contain higher amounts of calories and/or fats. It doesn’t take long to take a measuring cup out and put it to use. Plus, once you get the hang of how much one cup of cheese looks like, you don’t have to measure forever.
I love my stainless steel measuring tools. They are high-quality and easy to clean.
#4 – Mini blender
I use my mini blender several times per week, mostly to make green smoothies. I love being able to take frozen fruits and veggies right out of the freezer, pop them in my mini blender, and whip up a high-protein smoothie. They make great pre- or post-workout snacks.
High-speed mini blenders have been around for a while, and it’s another kitchen tool that I have tried several of. I have gone for cheaper models, only to have the motors burn out on me. My lesson was learned. I now have this awesome Ninja that I use for making smoothies. You have to have a powerful blender to cut through those hard frozen pieces. This Nutri Ninja does the trick.
#5 – Instant pot
I was a little late to the Instant Pot game, but I finally showed up. I requested this for Christmas from my husband, and he delivered. My good old crockpot was still doing a nice job helping us prepare dinners, but I was intrigued by this whole Instant Pot thing. I mean, hearing that it could do 7 different jobs was hard to believe, but it is a pretty amazing thing.
My Instant Pot can be a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, it can saute, make yogurt, or serve as a warmer. It is great for making soups, stews, and chili, cooking dry beans in very little time, and getting hard boiled eggs in half the time. The best feature of this gadget is the time it saves. It cooks things so fast, and some healthy things that usually take a long time, are done very quickly. You can cook dried beans in one hour without having to soak them, or a pork loin in 45 minutes. I highly recommend adding this kitchen tool to your collection.
#6 – Food processor
I know so many people who own a food processor, but it sits in the back of a cabinet collecting dust. And then there are the people who don’t own one at all. Oh my goodness, people, you are missing out! No, a food processor is not the same as a blender! The uses for a food processor are too numerous to describe here, but I will review a few of my most common. I use my food processor to make homemade hummus, no-bake energy and protein balls, sauces for pasta like pesto or roasted red pepper, and chopping vegetables like onions and carrots. Seriously, you just dump things in the bowl and turn it on. The machine does the work for you in no time at all. I could not live without this item.
I can’t tell you how many food processors I have gone through over the years. I have lost attachments, but mostly I have dropped and cracked the bowls. My last food processor was literally on its last leg, with tons of cracked parts all over. I spent a lot of time researching food processors, but I couldn’t decide on how much I wanted to spend. I felt like this was an item I should go a little higher end with, but I just wasn’t sure I needed the power and size of a commercial processor. I finally decided on this Hamilton Beach one, and boy am I happy I did! This thing is so powerful, and I absolutely love the scraper attachment inside the bowl.
Do you have a favorite kitchen tool that helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle?