So you want to start cooking healthy foods, so you probably think that you need some special healthy kitchen tools to help you. For some, this is like starting from the ground up – maybe you’re new to the whole cooking-at-home thing. For others, it may be a matter of improving the healthy nature of your cooking. Whatever it is, it helps to have a list of healthy cooking equipment basics. Here are some suggestions.
Pots and Pans
You really don’t need anything fancy in the way of pots and pans, but if you are just starting out and needing everything, I would suggest getting a few durable, good quality pieces rather than buying cheaper, more delicate ones that need to be replaced every year or so.
For durability, it’s hard to beat cast iron. Families have been known to pass down cast iron skillets for generations, because they are practically indestructible! Also, it’s been shown that cooking in cast iron imparts iron into the food, which boosts its nutritive value. So for healthy cooking, you may want to invest in some cast iron cookware. Other materials with a healthy, durable reputation include enamelware and copper-bottom stainless steel.
This piece of kitchen equipment is a wonderful time- and nutrient-saver. I certainly could not survive cooking meals in my kitchen without my pressure cooker. If you want to cook dried beans at the last minute, you can do so in a pressure cooker. Healthy foods like brown rice that can take almost an hour to cook conventionally can be fully cooked in 25 minutes in a pressure cooker. The same is true for vegetables and meats. And because the cooking time is shortened so dramatically, valuable nutrients are said to be preserved.
Pressure cookers come in various models, from very expensive, large, stainless steel models to inexpensive, smaller, anodized aluminum models. I, personally would suggest a stainless steel version, just because I don’t like using aluminum cookware due to the controversy over aluminium and dementia.
Eating healthy is a lot easier with a blender. You can become the smoothie master if you have a nice blender in your kitchen, and it does not have to be expensive. They are not just good for smoothies; blenders can be used to make creamy mashed sweet or white potatoes, to grind up grains, crush ice, and add “hidden” vegetables to sauces and soups. You can use them to make fruit purees to freeze into popsicles, too. A blender really helps with healthy food preparation.
A juicer is something like a specialized blender, and it’s considered indispensable by many health experts. A juicer differs from a blender in that it removes the tough plant fibers of popular juicing foods like wheat grass and carrots, and turns them into a vitamin-rich drink. Some sources point out that the nutrients in the foods are released into your bloodstream more quickly when your digestive system does not have to contend with the fiber.
I would add that if you are not used to juicing, I would start slowly so that your body can become accustomed to the juice without the fiber.
I have a juicer, a blender and I also own a NutriBullet. This is the one I have: NutriBullet Pro 900 and I love it. I use it everyday to make healthy fruit and vegetable smoothies for my husband and me. It doesn’t replace a juicer or a blender, because it doesn’t remove pulp and fiber like a juicer and it doesn’t grind up ice cubes like a blender, but if you can only afford to get one of these kitchen gadgets, I would suggest the NutriBullet.
You really don’t need a full set of knives. In fact, to be perfectly honest, there are only about 2 or 3 knives in my kitchen that I use on a regular basis, along with my whet-stone sharpener. A good knife can last a lifetime, and can make a world of difference in food preparation. If you have a good knife, you can tackle whole foods like winter squash, and you can produce healthy chopped veggies in record time. A paring knife, bread knife, and large chopping knife are a good place to start.
You also need a few cutting boards, different boards for different foods. Color coordinating them will make it easier to remember which food goes on which board. Red for meat, green for vegetables and so on. Also, if you’re kitchen isn’t completely gluten-free, you will want one strictly for gluten-free foods.
This is not a waste of counter space. A good kitchen scale can really help you with healthy cooking. Nothing beats it for portion control, calorie counting, and precise measuring in the kitchen.