Kitchen equipment for a healthy kitchen
The mere idea of setting up a healthy kitchen sounds daunting and costly, doesn’t it? While you don’t need a gourmet kitchen to prepare nutritious meals, having a few kitchen essentials can make cooking (almost) as easy as heating up a frozen meal. Check out the following culinary tools must-haves that will make every meal a cinch to whip up.
1. Cast iron or stainless steel frying pans, saucepans and skillets
These are a must for light and easy cooking: cast iron pans prevent food from sticking, which not only makes cleaning up easier but also means you can use less oil. And food cooks better in cast iron pans since there is a better distribution of heat.
What about non-stick pans? Well, the Teflon coating on non-stick pans is damaged by high temperatures (above 500oF), which may cause it to disintegrate and release carcinogenic chemicals in your food. But they are probably safe for low-temperature stir-fries or for cooking an omelet.
Select a three-tier steamer so that you can cook an entire meal at once — one level for your protein, one for your whole grains or two levels for two different types of veggies. It comes with a timer so you don’t have to keep checking on your food.
A slow-cooker is a great investment that will help you save time and money. You simply have to throw in all your ingredients — the night before or in the morning — and your hassle-free dinner will be ready to serve when it’s time to eat. Plus, you’ll be welcomed home by a hot meal that has been simmering all day. And a slow-cooker uses less energy compared to an oven.
4. Convection oven with a cook top
Using a fan, a convection oven evenly circulates heat in the oven which speeds the cooking and ensures that your food is cooked throughout. This is particularly useful when baking low-fat products and delicate foods such as fish or when roasting chicken and beef.
Alternative: If you’re the type of person who hates having to wait for the oven to heat up so that you can finally use a tiny fraction of the space in it, then the toaster oven is for you. It is less versatile than a conventional oven but you can still use it to reheat leftovers as well as bake or broil salmon, sweet potatoes, burgers, and mini pizzas. And of course, you can use it as a toaster. Another great thing with a toaster oven is that it will use far less energy than a regular oven.
5. Indoor grill
If you just love everything about grills — the look and the taste of meats — but you are concerned about the potentially higher cancer risk from the charring, then the indoor grill is a great buy. And you don’t have to worry about those flare-ups with an indoor grill.
A blender will come in handy when it’s time to combine ingredients or smooth the texture of your healthy sauces, spreads or vinaigrettes. You can also use it to make healthy smoothies.
1. Chef’s knife —This is one of the largest knives and serves as an all-purpose knife for cutting meats, and for mincing, dicing and chopping a variety of foods.
2. Hand food chopper —Cooking healthy involves using ingredients to enhance the flavor of your dish without the need for additional fat and calories. The thing is that many of these ingredients (like onions, garlic, bell peppers, carrots, fresh herbs, nuts, etc.) require chopping. And a hand food chopper will make the chopping faster, easier and cleaner.
3. Measuring cup and scale — These will help you get your ingredients right when trying out a recipe and will make it easier for you to watch your portion size.
4. Spatulas — Used to level off ingredients when measuring, scraping bowls. Larger offset spatulas can be used to turn meat, pancakes, omelets and potatoes.
5. Tongs — Used to turn meat while broiling, or lift vegetables from the grill or a steamer.
6. Whisk —Used to smooth sauces or to incorporate air in egg whites to make your omelet fluffier.
7. Wooden spoons — For stirring, mixing, creaming, tossing and folding without a scratch. You can also use wooden spoons to serve the food.
8. Colanders — To drain cooked foods like pasta and to rinse your veggies and berries.
9. Cutting boards — To avoid cross-contamination, you need (at least) 2 or 3 ceramic cutting boards; one for the veggies, one for raw meats and one for cooked meats.
Of course, the list of kitchen equipments can be endless and will vary according to your needs and type of cooking but the above tools are the most common must-haves in a kitchen.