By: Nancy Kalish
As a health coach, I want my clients to cook and eat nutritiously. But I know that they won’t do it unless it’s easy and quick, which is totally understandable. After a long day, I certainly don’t want to spend lots of time laboring in the kitchen, so I’m always on the lookout for new kitchen gadgets and tools that save me time and effort while helping me eat healthfully. Here are five favorites I reach for over and over.
T-Fal ActiFry Low-fat Multi-cooker
Why I love it: Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I’m a French fry fanatic. This appliance allows me to prepare super-crispy sweet potato or regular fries using just 1 tablespoon of heart-healthy olive oil. It takes about 40 minutes for a batch. But you can set it and forget it; a paddle stirs the food constantly for even cooking. It also cooks vegetables, whole grains, meat, poultry and fish. But the fries are worth the price alone.
Cost: $200 at Amazon.com
Chef’n VeggiChop Hand-powered Vegetable Chopper
Why I love it: Sometimes, I don’t want to bother dirtying my food processor just to mince a few cloves of garlic or chop some herbs, and it’s too time-consuming to do it by hand. That’s when I take out my beloved VeggiChop. It works kind of like a salad spinner. I pull the ring handle, and it chops. The more I pull, the finer the chop, from coarse to puree -- all in much less time than it would take me with my knife. Then, I scoop out my beautifully minced garlic and put the bowl, blade and lid in the dishwasher. I also like the fact that it doubles as a storage container for the chopped food.
Cost: $19.95 at Williams Sonoma
Casabella Silcone Muffin Pan
Why I love it: Unlike regular pans, silicone bakeware doesn’t need to be greased, and it washes up in seconds. I use this pan for much more than muffins: It’s great for portion-controlled individual servings of healthy whole-grain mac ’n’ cheese, molded polenta cakes and even meat loaf. The pan is oven-safe (up to 500 F), freezer-safe and dishwasher-safe. The company also makes silicone loaf pans, bundt pans and other shapes.
Cost: $11.99 at Casabella.com
Prepara Tabletop Oil Mister
Why I love it: Instead of tossing vegetables I’m roasting in lots of healthy but caloric olive oil, I use this mister. It deposits a thin, even layer of oil -- just enough to prevent sticking and promote browning. I also love that it’s BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. It’s also powered with a hand pump, which means no aerosols or chemical propellants. I even use it to make special spice-infused oils.
Cost: $19.99 at Prepara.com
Vitamix 5200 Standard
Why I love it: Yes, it’s incredibly pricey. But the Vitamix is hands down the best, most useful kitchen gadget I’ve ever owned -- and it will probably last my lifetime. If you’ve never seen one in action, it’s like a blender on steroids. It chops, creams, blends, grinds, kneads and more with a blade that turns so quickly, I sometimes think the machine is going to take off and fly. I use it every day to make healthy smoothies, homemade almond milk, pesto and sauces, and fantastic frozen desserts in just minutes (no need to freeze). It even creates hot soup from fresh vegetables. (There’s no heating element, but the blades turn so quickly that they heat the liquid.) And it even cleans itself! When I’m done, I just pour a little water and dish soap in and turn it on, then give it a quick rinse. You can also get a special attachment for making your own flour and cereal, though I haven’t tried that yet. If you can fit it in your budget, the Vitamix will change your cooking life forever.
Cost: $449 at Vitamix
What are your favorite kitchen gadgets? Comment below or connect with us @Completely_You
Nancy Kalish is a certified health coach, and an editor and writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has covered health, nutrition and oral health for Prevention, Health, SELF, Real Simple, The New York Times, Completely You and more.
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