cuisinart frying pan

We all strive to eat healthier, which requires not only eating the right foods but using the right cookware and cooking it in the right small appliances. Maybe you want to change your diet to eat more protein-rich meats, leafy greens, and/or high-fibre fruits and grains. You could consume smaller portions or make more healthier, homecooked meals instead of eating out or buying processed foods. Depending on what you choose, cookware and small appliances can actually make it easier than you think to prepare fresh, healthy meals all year round.

Table of Contents

  1. What is healthy cooking?
  2. Cookware for healthy cooking
  3. Small appliances for healthy cooking
  4. What else can you use for healthy cooking?
  5. Tips for healthy cooking

What is healthy cooking?

Lodge cast iron skillet with salmon

Healthy cooking is about cooking fresh ingredients or at least healthy foods in a way that retains their nutrients and goodness. It’s also about portion sizes, reducing things like the use of sugar and salt, and focusing on foods that are good for you. Realistically, healthy eating is all about what feels good and works for you. But there are ways that cookware, small appliances, kitchen accessories, and other tips and tricks can help.

Cookware for healthy cooking

Cookware for healthy cooking is typically non-stick or made with a non-stick coating so you don’t have to use lots of oil or butter: food like eggs will slide right off once cooked. It’s non-toxic and free of PFOA and PFAs, lead, and cadmium. Learn more about the different types of cookware in our cookware buying guide, but these two types are most common for healthy cooking.

Frying pans and skillets

Frying pans, sometimes also referred to as saute pans, 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. Because of this, you don’t need to use a ton of oil or butter: in some cases, you might not have to use any, or can use a simply spray.

Zwilling wok


Built to withstand really high heat, woks can cook food 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.

Woks are great for cooking proteins like chicken and vegetables. Add some egg to make it even healthier. Plus, it’s a one-pot dish you can make quickly and easily, adding minimal sauces.

Henckels cast iron Dutch oven

Dutch oven

A Dutch oven is one of those pieces of cookware everyone should have in their home. You can use one to not only simmer sauces, which is what most people know them for, but also to bake, braise, and sear. Since these can often move from the stovetop to the oven, much like most cast iron pans, the cook process is seamless. They are usually quite large as well, so you can make big batches of things like homemade sauce, soup, even bread, portion it out, and store in the fridge and/or freezer.

Small appliances for healthy cooking

Healthy cooking really comes down to the method of cook and the ingredients used. But there are some small appliances that particularly excel at cooking foods in a healthier way or making it simple to create healthy meals.


Women with blender.

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, dips, 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 popular type of blender is a Vitamix, which can turn virtually any fruit and vegetable into a nutrient-packed juice or smoothie. There are also heated blenders that can not only mix and puree soft, cooked ingredients, but also heat them at the same time. This is great for things like soup or mashed sweet potatoes.

Learn more about how blenders work and the different types available in our blenders and juicers buying guide.


Ninja cold press juicer

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 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!

Air fryer

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.

Philips air fryer with vegetables

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. Read through our air fryers buying guide for some more ideas and help in choosing the right model.

It’s worth noting that some of the latest ovens/ranges come with air frying functionality built-in so you can accomplish the same task without adding another small appliance to the countertop.

Slow cooker

Hamilton Beach slow cooker

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.


Instant Pot with pasta

Using a multicooker is a great way to get healthy home cooked meals in a fraction of the time it might usually take. While models like 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.

The Instant Pot is available in 3-, 6-, and 8-quart sizes, and 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 favorite flavours, then jar it up for a quick and nutritious breakfast or snack without any added preservatives or unpronounceable ingredients.

With other model multicookers, you can experiment with other functions, too, including using high pressure to cook a healthy side dish in the fraction of the time it might take on the stovetop or in the oven.

Starfrit The Rock electric grill

Electric grille

Electric grilles 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.

Sous vide machine

Breville Joule sous video

Growing in popularity, sous vide machines are designed for cooking everything from protein to fish and vegetables in a vacuum sealed bag. The cook takes longer since it cooks low and slow, but the result helps ensure a perfect cook every time. You avoid overcooked, tough cuts of meat and retain the flavour and juices. Because they’re so easy to use, you’ll be more inclined to cook using this method and can enjoy flavourful and healthy meals. Some of the latest models even include voice assistant compatibility so you can control them using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and even work with a companion apps that provides recipes and remote control. You can see the progress as the food cooks. It’s a creative addition to the mix if you’re looking for something new to spice up dinner time.

Food processor

KitchenAid food processor

Food processors are great to help simplify meal prep, but they can be used for other things, too, that encourage healthy cooking. Make your own homemade salad dressing, dips, and sauces in one, for example. Make a delicious and healthy pesto for pasta instead of a heavy, cream-based sauce or one from a bottle. These machines can chop, grate, slice, and handle just about anything, from hard cheese to vegetables, nuts, and more. Clean-up is simple and a small model won’t take up a lot of room on your counter or in the cupboard. Get help choosing the right food processor in our food processor buying guide.  

Stand mixer with attachments

stand mixer veggies

A stand mixer on its own is another small appliance that can encourage healthy cooking. With the dough hook that most if not all machines come with, you can easily whip up a batch of homemade bread instead of buying store bought. Given the high price of things like gluten-free bread, you might actually save money using gluten-free flour and making your own at home. You control the ingredients and you’re eating fresh. The same can be done with things like pizza dough or other pastries. Make homemade muffins to freeze for breakfast and snack using ingredients like bananas or apple sauce as a sweetener, or simply reducing the amount of refined sugar. Include lots of healthy add-ins like oats, nuts, and chia seeds. Even using a stand mixer and wire whip for homemade whipped cream still allows you to indulge but enjoy something with much less sugar. Stand mixers come in all shapes and sizes, and you can get help choosing the right one in our stand mixers buying guide.

Add attachments to the mix (pun intended) with models like KitchenAid stand mixers and you can make your own homemade pasta, stuff your own sausage, slice vegetables for a homemade salad with little effort, and more. There’s even an ice cream maker attachment so you can enjoy the sweet dessert treat and tweak the recipe so it’s healthier. There are some really exciting KitchenAid stand mixer attachments from which to choose.

What else can you use for healthy cooking?

Along with having the right cookware and small appliances, there are also items worth getting for the kitchen to help encourage healthier eating. These might facilitate counting calories, ensuring proper portion sizes, or storing leftovers or meal plans.

Food storage

Bentgo glass food storage containers

While you might not necessarily cook in food storage containers, they can be useful in the kitchen for helping you eat healthier. These include jars, plastic containers, and even bags, that can be used to keep food fresher, longer. This is thanks to airtight vacuum seals that keep air out of the container once you’ve put food inside, like healthy grains.

They come in all sizes and can be made of glass, BPA-plastic, stainless steel, or cloth. Some also include vacuum insulation to keep already cooked foods hot or cold so you can take homemade healthy soup to work, for example, and ensure maximum heat retention. Some are stackable so you can keep healthy foods easily accessible in your pantry or even on your countertop.

Kitchen scale

Etekcity kitchen scale

If you’re watching your weight, caloric intake, or following a diet that involves portion control, a kitchen scale can be a handy tool in your kitchen arsenal when it comes to healthy eating. Made of materials like tempered glass, they 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 weight 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. Portion your food in food storage containers, weigh using a kitchen scale, and you’re on your way to healthier eating with grab and go meals.

Food prep devices

Salad spinner

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 takes minute, 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!), garlic press for garlic cloves, or a food chopper to quickly and easily slice fruits and vegetables for a salad or recipe.

Tips for healthy cooking

Once you have the right equipment for healthy cooking, here are some tips to consider that will help put you on the right path.

Make big batches

As mentioned, it’s beneficial when you’re setting up to cook to make bigger batches at once. You can then portion it out and have meals for an entire week, potentially longer. If you don’t have a lot of space in your freezer, consider investing in a chest freezer to store home-cooked meals. With many of the small appliances noted above, you can cook right from frozen but you’re still eating homemade. This will give you something to eat when there’s “nothing in the house” and you might otherwise resort to take-out.

Buy healthier ingredients

It goes without saying that in order to cook healthier, you also need healthy ingredients. These don’t have to cost more either. Instead of refined white sugar, for example, consider using brown sugar or other alternative kinds. Invest in more fresh produce and use things like homemade apple sauce as a sweetener. Look for options with less fat, sugar, or fewer ingredients.

Don’t microwave certain things

While a microwave is a fabulous small appliance for so many tasks, including reheating food, try to avoid cooking certain things in the microwave when possible. In many cases, for example, you could steam vegetables in a multicooker and retain their nutrients in just a few minutes longer than it might take to cook in a microwave. Note that some microwaves have convection settings and can do more than just cook via microwave technology. So, this will depend on the model you have.

Lodge enamel Dutch oven

Buy frozen vegetables

Don’t be afraid to buy certain things frozen if you simply don’t have the time. While buying fresh is always ideal, you can grab a bag of frozen broccoli or green beans, for example, and cook these for a quick, last minute side dish for dinner. It’s better you eat these then a second helping of mashed potatoes or larger portion of rice. And you’re still getting all the delicious benefits from pre-frozen vegetables, especially since they are frozen immediately after harvesting. There is some debate over how much the freezing process impacts the nutritional value of vegetables. But either way, they’re better than an unhealthy alternative.

Portion it out

Make note of what you make and portion it out favourably. Focusing on filling at least a third, if not a half, of your plate with things like vegetables to compensate for less of the heavier foods, like rice, potatoes, and bread.

Use healthier seasoning

No one likes bland food. Seasoning like butter and salt adds flavour but it also makes food less healthy. Of course you should not restrict yourself too much. But you can experiment with healthier spices and herbs as an alternative. Try using turmeric or rosemary, for example, on chicken instead of extra salt. Season vegetables with a paprika and a tiny bit of oil. There are small modifications that can make a big difference.

If you’re on your way to living a healthier lifestyle, including 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 normally indulgent foods, or food that would normally take a lot of time, in a much quicker, effortless, and healthier way.

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.

Take the next step

Woman with Ninja Foodi PossibleCooker

Ready to start eating healthier? There’s plenty of cookware and small appliances that can help you cook the foods you love in a healthier way at Best Buy Online.

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