Kitchen Tools for Healthy Eating
Here are some of the tools I use in my kitchen to make cooking healthy food easier.
I like baking in glass whenever possible to avoid the health issues with aluminum and the challenges of baking with other materials. I have a couple of these 8-inch x 8-inch baking dishes and a couple larger baking dish as well.
Aluminum works so well for baking because it conduct heat quickly and uniformly, so when I need to use aluminum, I line the baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent aluminum from leaking into the food.
I use these 13-inch x 18-inch rimmed baking sheets. They are inexpensive and work great.
Basic Cooking Utensils
A stainless steel spatula/turner and slotted spoon are the minimum tools needed here.
A good blender is a super helpful kitchen tool because it can take healthy, whole-food ingredients and transform them into delicious dressings, sauces, and dips.
My two favorite blenders are the Blendtec and the Vitamix. They are both powerful blenders that always do an excellent job. They are expensive, but in my opinion, they will pay for themselves many times over.
Some other good blenders are:
Breville BBL620 – It’s 1100 watts and does a great job for the price.
Oster Versa – It’s 1400 watts and it does an okay job.
Ninja Professional Blender – It’s 1000 watts. It does an okay job.
A stainless steel colander is helpful for draining pasta and washing produce.
Crock Pot/Slow Cooker
My crock pot (slow cooker) is a tool that gets used nearly every day at my house. I love the convenience of putting ingredients in the crock the day before and having a hot meal ready and waiting for us the next day.
A crock pot also comes in handy for keeping foods warm while waiting for dinner. This is super convenient during the holidays – you can make your mashed potatoes ahead of time and they’ll stay warm in the crock pot while you tend to other things.
Here is some information about how to choose the right crock pot for your needs.
I like these cutting boards because they don’t dull my knives and are easy to clean.
My food processor saves me so much time!!!
I use it for chopping nuts, making these Apricot Energy Bites, making Potato No-Meatballs, shredding vegetables, making nut butter, slicing potatoes (it only takes me 15 minutes to make these Skinny Scalloped Potatoes), making this White Bean Garlic Dip, and more.
Here’s some info about the food processors I recommend.
With a chef’s knife, garlic can be finely minced. But what if you want crushed garlic? You need a garlic press.
A garlic press makes adding garlic to your recipes super fast and super easy. Just place the clove in the press – peel and all – and squeeze the handles together, and out comes crushed garlic. (The skin gets left in the press.)
When purchasing a garlic press, be sure it comes with a cleaner. Mine came with one, and it takes less than 5 seconds to clean under running water; but without a cleaner this job can be difficult.
A kitchen timer allows you to go about other tasks knowing that the timer will remind you when your recipe needs attention.
Without a kitchen timer, Jennifer’s Kitchen would be Jennifer’s Smokehouse.
I’m amazed at how many people cook without a good chef’s knife. I think it’s one of those things you don’t know what you’re missing until you try it and then you say, “How did I manage before I had one?!”
This knife is my favorite of all the knives I’ve ever tried. While there are some perrrty nice knives on the market, they can cost you quite a few Benjamins. This knife is good quality for not too much money.
A good chef’s knife is a tool that doesn’t wear out and will be a lifelong friend in the kitchen.
Measuring cups and spoons seem like a small, insignificant part of cooking . . . until recipes don’t turn out quite right because of using inaccurate measuring.
A quality set of measuring cups and spoons is essential for good results in baking and cooking. I highly recommend stainless steel (for dry ingredients) and glass (for liquids) rather than plastic. The fact that they hold up longer and are easier to use more than justifies the very little extra they cost.
I use my set of mixing bowls for a number of tasks, not just for mixing.
In some situations, a pizza cutter cut so much better than a knife.
Saucepans and Stockpots
Quality saucepans are essential to ensure food heats evenly and doesn’t burn in spots. I prefer stainless steel cookware and suggest a minimum of 3 saucepans, 1 stockpot, and a skillet – although an extra saucepan or two is quite helpful.
I prefer saucepans with a glass lid so you can monitor cooking without removing the lid. This feature also helps prevent surprise boil-overs.
And stockpots with wide bottoms are best because you have more cooking surface so food cooks more evenly.
I like to have a 1 1/2-quart saucepan, two or three 3-quart saucepans, a stockpot, and a skillet.
I hate wasting any delicious dressings or sauces on the sides of my blender jar, so my blender doesn’t do anything without my spatula.
Though stoneware are not an essential kitchen tool, certain recipes, like roasted vegetables and pizze, turn out better on a stone.
Taking one day a week to do some cooking ahead means you have more time later in the week to do other things. It also means you need a few storage containers to keep those items that you cooked ahead.
I use these glass storage containers and I love them.
A vegetable peeler is so much more efficient than a knife, plus a good one takes off less skin – which means it leaves more of the nutrients that are close to the skin.
Most who have tried a Y-peeler say it is the best type of peeler (I agree) because it is easier on your hands, can be used from different angles and from any directions, and takes off less skin.
If you use a straight swivel peeler, be sure to use a good, sharp one that is also easy to grip.
I really like my veggie chopper because it keeps me from crying when I’m chopping onions. Plus it has saved me countless hours in the kitchen. It can cut my chopping time to less than half.
I really like waffles because they are so healthy and yet they’re really easy. I make a batch of 6 or 7 waffles ahead of time and keep them in the freezer for a quick breakfast on busy mornings. (Reheat in the toaster.)
I’ve made over 7,000 healthy, whole-grain waffles in my beloved Belgian waffle iron and I really like it, but the model I have isn’t available anymore. So I tested a bunch of waffle irons so I could know which one to recommend to others. Unfortunately, the newer models don’t get as hot as the older ones do. 🙁
Healthy waffles need a really hot iron to bake properly, so I now recommend this small, round waffle iron. It’s not a Belgian iron, but it gets nice and hot and bakes beautiful waffles. (And, to be honest, I like the waffles that come out of it better than the ones from my Belgian iron.)