We all strive to be healthier, and while exercise, reducing stress, and sleep play important roles in achieving a healthier lifestyle, so does eating right. That involves not only buying the right ingredients, but also cooking them in heathier ways using particular types of cookware and small appliances that make it easier than you think to prepare fresh, healthy meals.
Cookware and appliances for healthy eating
Being able to cook healthier meals can be easier with specific types of cookware and appliances that can simplify tasks, allow you to use less oil and/or butter, and prepare your meals more efficiently. Also, after preparing healthy meals, look to versatile storage solutions to keep prepped foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and seeds fresher, longer.
Here are some examples of cookware conducive to healthy eating.
Frying pans and skillets
Frying pans, sometimes also referred to as saute pans, can allow you to cook food in a healthy way if they are made from a non-stick material, like cast iron, stainless steel, or ceramic. They come in sizes from 8” up to 10” or even larger and include straight sides with a flat bottom. A similar type of pan is a skillet, which has a narrower bottom and slanted sides. These are ideal for stirring and moving food around, like vegetable stir fry. A coating like Teflon will allow the food to slide off easily.
The Greenpan ceramic non-toxic, non-stick cookware, for example, includes Thermolon non-stick technology that is resistant to high temperatures so even if you overheat the pan, no toxic fumes will be released and the coating won’t blister or peel.
Built to withstand really high heat, woks can cook food really quickly while still retaining their fresh colour, flavour, and texture. This makes them great for healthy dishes like vegetable and protein-packed stir fries. You will usually find them in sizes like 10” or 11” and made from materials like aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel, and carbon steel, again with non-stick coatings.
While you might not necessarily cook in food storage containers, they can be useful in the kitchen for helping you eat healthier. Jars, plastic containers, and even bags, can be used to keep food fresher thanks to vacuum seals that keep air out of the container. Some storage containers also include vacuum insulation to keep already cooked foods hot or cold so you can take homemade healthy meals to work or school, and ensure maximum heat retention (there’s no excuse for having to buy a hot lunch!).
If you’re watching your weight, caloric intake, or following a diet that involves portion control, a kitchen scale can be a really handy tool in your kitchen arsenal when it comes to healthy eating. Made of materials like tempered glass, they can measure ingredients placed atop a flat surface, including both liquids and solids. Some can convert measurements from ounces to grams and vice versa, depending on what you want to measure or what diet you are following. The results are displayed on an easy-to-read LCD. Some even include nutritional calculators and/or calorie counters so you can keep full track of what you consume and how much. They can typically weigh food up to 11 lbs., depending on the model, and many are battery-operated. They are compact and lightweight so you can keep it on the countertop or store it away until you need it without having to worry about fussing with cords.
Devices for easy food prep
There are also lots of kitchen gadgets and utensils you can use to help with food prep, making it simpler and quicker so you’re more inclined to cook healthier meals. A pasta maker, for example, can help you quickly and easily roll out fresh pasta noodles instead of using store bought ones. Once the dough is mixed, which is a really quick and simple process, run the pasta through the maker then boil for a few minutes and voila! You’re done! A salad spinner can easily mix up fresh, pre-cut ingredients (that you’ve prepped ahead of time and packed away in handy storage containers to keep them fresh, of course) into a delicious salad for lunch or a snack. Use a fry cutter to make homemade French fries from fresh potatoes, an onion chopper to quickly chop onions for a recipe (no tears needed!), or a food chopper to quickly and easily slice fruits and vegetables for a salad or recipe.
What are healthy appliances?
In addition to cookware that helps promote healthy cooking, there are also a wide selection of small appliances that help you cook or prepare food (and drinks) in a healthier way. This involves using fresh ingredients, like meat, poultry, and fish, as well as vegetables and even fruits. And they all allow you to cook or prepare them in a such a way that makes it easy to use fresh versus processed foods, retain nutrients, and avoid lots of added fat. And, in many cases, with some prep work, you can make food quickly and easily making these small appliances ideal for even the busiest of families. Here are some examples of healthy small appliances.
Types of healthy appliances
A blender mixes hard and soft ingredients, including fresh fruits and vegetables, liquids like coconut water, milk, or alternatives, and ice so you can make healthy and delicious smoothies. You can even add things like nuts and seeds for additional fibre and nutritional benefits. Blenders can also be used to make things like homemade soups and sauces. A smoothie made from fresh produce can help support your digestive health and provides plenty of fibre in a filling drink, along with vitamins and nutrients. One really popular type of blender is a Vitamix, which can turn virtually any fruit and vegetable into a nutrient-packed juice or smoothie.
Get full nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables with a juicer, which extracts juice from hard and soft produce, separating it from the skin and pulp. You’ll get maximum nutrition as your body quickly absorbs the juice and all of the vitamins and minerals from the fruits and vegetables. And it will boost your energy, too, so you might be more prepared for that workout or morning run!
What makes air fryers great for healthier eating is that you can still indulge in the foods you love, including fried foods. But they are cooked in a healthier way. These compact countertop appliances have a heating mechanism and fan at the top that circulates hot air around the food so you get the same crispy texture you might get when submerging the food in oil in a deep fryer. But it’s much healthier because you use little, and sometimes no, oil. They come in sizes from 0.8kg up to 1.5 kg. to serve a big family and are usually made of stainless steel. They are great for making foods like chicken nuggets, fried chicken, fish, vegetables, meat, wings, and even healthier homemade doughnuts. You can also make healthier alternatives of your favourite foods ahead of time, freeze them, and cook them directly from frozen in an air fryer.
Slow cookers are great for healthy cooking because you can just prep and dump fresh meats and poultry inside and/or vegetables and let it cook slowly with little to no effort on your part. They are great for busy individuals and families who don’t have time to prepare full healthy meals every night. Many are programmable so you can put the ingredients inside before leaving for work in the morning, then come home to fresh home-cooked healthy meal. And because everything cooks at a low temperature, it retains the nutrients and natural juices. They come in sizes as small as 2 quarts up to 8 quarts for big families or making big batches of meals ahead for refrigerating or freezing and reheating.
This multicooker is a great way to get healthy home cooked meals in a fraction of the time it might usually take. While the Instant Pot has a slow cooker function as well, you can cook meals, including meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables, that you might typically slow cook at high pressure for just a few minutes instead to get a similar result. Dump everything in and cook an entire meal in one pot with minimal cleanup. Available in 3-, 6-, and 8-quart sizes, some models also include a mode for making your own homemade yogurt. Make a big batch using just whole milk and a small yogurt starter, add your favoriteflavours, then jar it up for a quick and nutritious breakfast or snack without any added preservatives or unpronounceable ingredients.
Electric grills allow you the benefits of cooking on a grille indoors when inclement weather might make it difficult to use an outdoor barbecue. Or maybe you live in an apartment or don’t own a barbecue at all. They usually consist of two heated plates on a hinge that provide dry heat directly to food. Make everything from hamburgers to steaks, vegetables, kebabs, and side dishes like grilled peppers. Because the fat runs off, the end result is a healthier version of food than you would get if you were to fry it in a pan.
Take the next step
If you’re trying to cook and eat healthier, there are plenty of products that can be useful to help you achieve this in the kitchen. These range from cookware that makes it easier to cook healthy meals, to small appliances that cook typically indulgent foods, or food that would normally take a lot of time, in a much quicker, effortless, and healthier way. And don’t forget those peripheral items like kitchen scales and airtight food storage containers that can help you keep and measure healthy ingredients so they are at your fingertips for everyday cooking.