It’s easy to say “I am going to start eating healthy” but putting that mantra into practice can sometimes be a lot of work, especially if your diet typically consists of take-out lunches and quick fix dinners. You might know which foods to eat and which to avoid in the pursuit of health, but without the right kitchen tools and appliances available to prep those foods, your resolve might dwindle in a matter of days. So to help you stick to your resolution to eat healthy this year, here are some must have’s for your kitchen.
Whether you’re trying to eat healthy or not, a decent blender with a strong motor is an absolute must in any kitchen. Blenders are ideal for making smoothies–especially when making them with frozen fruit or ice cubes–as well as soup broths and sauces. Just toss in your ingredients, select the appropriate setting, and presto! Depending on how often you plan on using your blender, and for what purposes, you can opt for a high end one like a model from Vitamix with a 2-peak horsepower motor, or an equally effective 1000-watt model like this one from Cuisinart.
Once you have a handheld immersion blender, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one. Not only are they small enough to fit in almost any drawer, but they are exceptionally easy to use and are ideal for small batches of recipes or for those days you don’t want to haul your blender out from the cupboard. With one you can puree your vegetable right soups right in the pot, whip up delicious fruit smoothies to get your day started on the right track, or even prepare homemade salad dressings, healthy sauces, and even delicious salsas and dips. One thing to note is that immersion blenders aren’t quite as good as emulsifying as standard countertop blenders, so go with the latter if you like your smoothies to be velvety and creamy in texture.
Juicing is a great way to kick start your day with a does of healthy nutrients. Just toss in whichever fruits and veggies float your boat and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious beverage suited to your own tastes. It’s important to look for a juicer that has varying speeds so you can adjust them depending on the type of produce you feed it, as well as a wide chute so you can skip the step of pre-cutting your fruits and veggies. It’s also nice to have a large pulp container so you don’t need to empty it mid-juicing.
Unless you’re like my mom and find dicing and slicing and chopping veggies to be a therapeutic endeavor, a food chopper is a great asset in the quest for healthy eating. It saves so much time and makes preparing delicious, veggie-dense meals a much easier (and less messy) task. A lot of food choppers also double as blenders, allowing you to puree homemade sauces and dressings.
One of the best ways to manage your portions and stay on track when embracing a healthier diet is with a food scale. I know, weighing all your food sounds tedious, but trust me when I say that eyeballing portion sizes is not as easy as you would think it would be. When I first embraced using a food scale I was shocked at what I thought 100 grams of meat was versus what it actually was. The best part though is that once you get used to measuring your food with a scale, you do get better at eyeballing portion sizes over time.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Just like measuring your food with a food scale is an eye-opener, so too is measuring portions with measuring cups and spoons. For example, you might want to top your salad with a little bit of feta cheese, and the container says that ¼ cup is 150 calories, great! But if your idea of ¼ cup is off, you might be eating far more calories than you intended to eat. Same goes for liquids. If 250 ml of iced tea is 200 calories, then you really don’t want to be inadvertently consuming double or triple the volume.
If you are trying to eat healthy, but still like a treat every once in a while, this Zoku Quick Pop maker will definitely come in handy. With it you can make popsicles with healthy ingredients like fruit, homemade juice, or yogurt in seven minutes with no electricity needed. The options for delicious treats are endless!
Even with all the right tools, eating healthy can still feel daunting from time to time, since it usually involves a lot of prep work. That’s why I carve out a few hours every Sunday to do my grocery shopping and prep work for the week. The moment I come home from the store, I wash my veggies, cut them all up, and put them in Pyrex containers so they are ready for me when I want to make a smoothie, some juice, or even just steam some for dinner. I also make a large batch of quinoa and another of brown rice on Sundays and refrigerate those as well so I can simply come home from work, cook up a chicken breast or piece of fish, and reheat some rice. I also make my lunches for the week on Sundays as well. It may sound like my fridge is jammed with Pyrex containers by Sunday night, and well, it is! But it takes all the guess work out of eating for the week, and makes it much harder to skip a healthy dinner in favour of take out.
It might take a while to get into a rhythm, but once you start eating healthy and see the difference it makes in your mood, your sleep, and your energy levels, you’ll want to keep it up. All you need is some will power, some dedication, and of course, the right devices. Here’s to your healthiest year yet!
Main image courtesy of HealthyFamilyFoods.com