Eating healthy food also implies cooking healthy food. And that’s not always the easiest task.
In a world of to-do lists, over-scheduling and constantly being on the go, you may have found yourself spending less and less time in the kitchen. That really is a pity because not only does home cooking done right taste a lot better than pre-packaged snacks, processed foods or meals bought on the run, it's frequently healthier and more economical, as well.
Top 5 Kitchen Gadgets
If you need some encouragement to get back in the kitchen there are definitely several kitchen gadgets that admittedly you could live without, but you probably won't want to. Each one helps to make your food prep or cooking time a little easier, a little faster, a little healthier, or a little bit more fun. Best of all, none of them are expensive or complicated.
These gadgets are handy tools to bring back the joy of cooking and keep you healthy. Many of them inspire you to eat more fresh, seasonal produce, while others help you prep meals with little to no fuss.
Electric Pressure Cooker/ Multi Cooker
No cooking tool is as versatile or foolproof as an electric pressure cooker (many of which serve as a multicooker). It can brown food, pressure-cook, steam, slow-cook, make rice, ferment coconut yogurt, hard-cook eggs and even create some healthy treats and desserts. Best of all, you don’t have to keep a constant eye on it when it’s in use. It allows you to effortlessly make meals that take longer on the stove, and cleanup is a breeze. Often, it can even keep food warm for long periods of time.
They are so simple to use. Simply select your desired cooking setting, place food and liquid inside as suggested by the recipe, then press the start button – simple as that!
When pressure-cooking without a recipe, use at least 1/2 cup of water, broth or other liquid and ensure that the steam valve is sealed so pressure can build and cook food quickly. Use the sauté function first for browning food, creating more flavor. Remember to factor in preheating time if your recipe doesn’t include it.
Air Fryer Combo Oven
Even better than a conventional air-fryer with limited functions, a toaster oven/air-fryer combo over oven heats faster than a regular oven and often cooks more quickly, thanks to convection and a smaller cavity. It can replace your toaster and your microwave along with your air-fryer. You can use it to reheat leftovers, heat frozen items fast, bake, roast vegetables, make chicken wings and dry ribs and even crisp up a whole chicken in less than an hour. This is probably the best option for one- and two-person meals.
Most models have multiple settings, temperature, time and rack adjustments which control the heaters and fan speeds to deliver optimal results.
It works best when using the top rack to broil and air-fry, the middle to bake and the bottom to roast.
There’s not much a large countertop blender can do that is not as easily accomplished with a hand-held immersion blender
It is way more convenient grabbing a portable stick from a drawer than dragging out a bulky blender when you need to puree something – not to mention the hassle of clean-up! With an immersion blender there’s no extra jar to deal with. This small but powerful tool can blend almost anything, from smooth soups to green smoothies. It will often come with a chopper and whisk attachment, reducing the need for even more appliances. The only thing it is probably not useful for is crushing large amounts of ice.
Immersion blenders are designed to be placed directly in a pot, bowl or sturdy measuring cup. Cut raw items into 1-in. pieces and stack with the hardest on the bottom and the softest close to the blade, and add some liquid. Submerge the entire head in food to help prevent splattering, and increase blending speed slowly. Using gentle up-and-down motions creates even results.
A vegetable spiralizer turns humble vegetables and fruits into noodles, curly toppings for salads, and healthy garnishes for any dish.
Vegetable noodles or zoodles are one of the easiest ways to incorporate more vegetables into dishes you already love. They taste delicious, provide the base for whatever tasty sauce you'd like to top them with, and best of all with loads of nutrients and don’t contain wheat or other grains you might want to avoid. You can buy pre-spiralized zoodles in many markets these days, but it’s so easy and way more economical to make your own.
Some spiralizers come with multiple blades and settings but even a basic model will do. Simply clamp your vegetable or fruit of choice into position, and turn the crank. You’ll quickly create thin curls of noodle-like produce that are perfect for stir-frying, soups, salads, bowl lunches, and almost about anything else you can cook.
You can spiralize just about any fruit or vegetable that's firm, including zucchini, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, carrots, ginger, broccoli stalks, apples, pears, and cabbage. They provide a great way to add interest to vegetables and are a great substitute for processed and manufactured staples that are used as the base for so many dishes.
Bring a little bit of summer into your kitchen year-round with an indoor grill. No matter the season, it will serve up endless meal ideas and quick and easy dinner options.
It can be challenging to control the temperature on grill pans, but an electric indoor grill makes it easy with an easy-to-use thermostat which usually goes up to around 450°F. This is great news for small space living and sensitive smoke alarms. An indoor grill can be used for every type of protein and vegetables from cauliflower to eggplant, green beans to bell peppers – whatever is fresh and seasonal in your area.
You can choose from a range of temperatures to warm, cook or sear food using the grill or griddle plates (many come with both).
It is best to preheat your grill in the closed position for quicker results. Choose the grill side for char marks and greasier foods and the griddle for items that have more piqued, like eggs. Use it closed for the fastest results and open for juicier bites and greater surface area.
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Sparkling Water Maker
You already know that one of the best ways to cut down on refined sugar is to avoid sweetened drinks and sodas. The most natural swap for most people is sparkling water or soda water.
Soda water can be flavoured with a little bit of juice, lemons and limes, mint, and cucumber, which makes it a bit more fun. Buying soda or sparkling water from the store can be expensive and creates a lot of plastic waste – especially if you are drinking it regularly. Investing in a high-quality sparkling water/soda maker (which is actually not that expensive) is a total game-changer. You can have sparkling water all day, and any time you want/need in a matter of minutes. Gas refills are now widely available too, making your machine easy and cost-effective to refill.
Life happens and getting into the kitchen can be really tough some days, despite your best intentions.