Get Healthy in 2017: Timeless Tools for Your Kitchenby Elise Museles
If you’ve promised yourself to step up your game in the kitchen (and beyond!) this year, it’s a lot more likely to happen when you’re fully equipped with just the right essentials. But you don’t have to go out and buy tons of fancy gadgets: with a few timeless tools and products, cooking and eating (and feeling great!) will be a whole lot easier all year long.
Here’s a list of the go-to items that I reach for every single day:
Glass storage containers
Not to alarm you, but storing food in plastic containers isn’t particularly safe. Several studies have found that most (most!) plastics “from sippy cups to food wraps” release a hormone similar to estrogen (?!). Sidestep such issues altogether by using glass storage containers. Added bonus? It’s so gratifying to open your refrigerator door and be greeted by perfectly clear, neatly stacked glass containers housing your colorful, fresh food for the week. Trust me: it will motivate you to fill them up and meal prep!
A chef’s knife
You already know this, right? A good (and regularly sharpened) knife makes cooking a million times faster, more enjoyable, and yes – even safer! A high-quality chef’s knife is a bit of an investment, but it will last you decades. And if you really want to splurge, this is the knife that we use in our kitchen. It has been life changing!
The busy person’s personal chef: a crockpot! If you’ve ever dreamed about having a hot meal waiting and ready for at the end of a day, this is the answer to your prayers. While there is a wide range of price and functions, this one is economical but comes highly recommended. Either way, your meal prep will never be the same.
Nut milk bags
Homemade nut milk is cheaper, healthier, and (for my money) more delicious than store-bought versions. Make your own with a nut milk bag! They’re about $8 apiece, which is the price of two (maybe three) cartons of almond milk…so what are you waiting for, exactly?
Once you start using freshly ground ginger, nutmeg, and turmeric, you’ll never go back. Ever. This tool will make your turmeric latte even better – if that’s possible! Need to spice up your oatmeal or add extra immunity to your soup? Microplane to the rescue!
Don’t be intimidated by cast iron’s weird (read: non-existent) cleaning rules! They’re incredibly versatile, and can be used on your stovetop or in your oven. Plus, they’re healthier for you than other pans: a chemical-free alternative to non-stick, and they actually fortify your food with iron. Plus, they’re perfect for Fried Cauliflower Rice.
A lemon squeezer
In the New Year, you may want to make hot lemon water part of your morning ritual (I do!). This two-armed number is a lot better than one of those old-fashioned citrus juicers,.. and definitely more convenient. I use mine pretty much daily in dressings , quinoa dishes, and lemony coconut bliss balls.
Who needs pasta when you can have zucchini pasta with pesto and cherry tomatoes? It’s so much healthier, and it’s actually easier than waiting for that pasta water to boil. Plus, you can “spiralize” other vegetables to throw into your grains, salads or stir-frys in less time than it takes to chop them. (Really!)
A bamboo cutting board
Plastic? Out of the question. Glass? We don’t want to ruin or dull that chef’s knife! Bamboo is sustainable and naturally anti-bacterial. Perfect!
Goodbye canned, chemical-filled non-stick sprays; hello Silpats! These baking mats mean you can use less butter (or coconut oil) in your cookies, and the clean-up is so much easier.
Matcha Tea Whisk
The matcha tea lattes that you’ve been dreaming about are just an easy whisk away. No better way to warm up from the inside out while giving your body a dose of mood-boosting properties and antioxidants!
Although this isn’t a tool for the kitchen per se, I always have my trusted water bottle by my side! If I’m busy scurrying around while cooking, I oftentimes forget to drink. With a bright color reminder, staying hydrated with cold or hot liquid becomes simple & easy to do.
Wide-mouth mason jars in quart and pint sizes
Who doesn’t love mason jar salads? Wide-mouth mason jars are easy to clean, easy to fill, and perfectly portioned for smoothies, juices, overnight oats, trail mixes, chocolate truffles, granola, and just about everything else I love to eat. Prepare your food ahead of time, twist that lid on, and find a fridge and pantry full of goodness that’s ready when you are!
While you’re busy chopping, sautéing, blending and baking, why not infuse your house with the healing properties of essential oils? There is a solution to any malady, and I personally like the uplifting properties of peppermint and orange oil in my kitchen. My diffuser is constantly on when I’m cooking and prepping!
If you’ve been eyeing green juice but haven’t made your own, a juicer can make a major impact in your day-to-day nutrient consumption. There’s nothing like a fresh pressed juice that you make in your own kitchen to infuse your body with vitamins and minerals. There are so many to choose from in all price ranges. I graduated to this one but started with this more affordable all-around juicer. Cheers!
A high speed blender!
I almost left this out because it can be such a serious investment. But since I use my Vitamix every single day, it would be a disservice not to mention it. A high-speed blender will become your BFF in the kitchen. Use it to make smoothies, dressings, sauces, nut milks, desserts, soups, and more. It whips ingredients into a smooth texture in no time, and while it’s definitely costly, it will last forever. If you don’t need so much power, or would rather start with an effective but less expensive blender, the NutriBullet is convenient and incredible. I even sent my son off to college with one!
Ready Made Soups & Smoothies
Although ALL these tools will get you cooking with more ease, let’s be honest: there are times when we get too busy to put together meals from scratch. Even I like having a supply of smoothies and soups stocked in my freezer that I can toss together in a moments time. That’s where Daily Harvest comes in, and it’s organic, fresh, and healthy eating made easy! The smoothies require a liquid and a quick swirl in the blender. The soups can be heated in a flash. Use the code “kaleandchocolate” to get 3 free in your first order!
BONUS: Now that you’re all set up for success in the kitchen, you need a collection of recipes to make. So you might as well grab a copy of my book, Whole Food Energy! With 200 grab-and-go snacks and treats to keep your blood sugar balanced and your taste buds satisfied all day long, it’s a must-have for your busy life!
Your turn: What tools have helped make your cooking easier and more fun? Leave your favorite tools and products in the comments to help each other have a happy and a healthy new year!