Clients often tell me they need “more willpower” to eat healthier. I disagree! What if all you really needed were some great kitchen tools? If you’ve bought healthy food (so it’s already sitting around), and it tastes great, chances are you’ll eat it without any rah-rah motivation. Here are a handful of kitchen gadgets to make healthy eating effortless:
1) Large Skimmer – whether you’re boiling kale, steaming broccoli, or cooking up a warm, cozy batch of beans, a giant spoon with lots of little holes will come in handy. This contraption is called a “skimmer,” not a “slotted spoon”—who knew? You can pick one up at bricks & mortar kitchen stores like Sur la Table or on their website.
2) Citrus Juicer – while I personally love my huge, heavy Omega juicer, most of my clients don’t have the time to fool with cleaning a big juicer. Electric citrus juicers, on the other hand, are small, lightweight, and ridiculously easy to clean. One client who’d owned a “real” juicer for 10 years and never used it finally bought a citrus juicer, and started making orange juice, grapefruit juice, or lemonade almost everyday. The CitriStar is one good brand.
3) Rice Cooker / Vegetable Steamer – if you’re a smart but absent-minded person like me, this will be the best money you’ve ever spent. If I had a dollar for every batch of rice or veggies I’d burned while answering the phone or checking email, I could’ve bought 5 rice cookers. The beauty of an electric rice cooker is that it senses when the water has been used up, and automatically turns the heat down to low, so it’s literally impossible to burn your food!
Be sure to get a stainless steel model (NOT Teflon); it’s safer and your food still won’t stick. Boiling rice isn’t like frying onions in a skillet—“non-stick coatings” just aren’t necessary. Lotus Foods (the company famous for selling the beautiful “Forbidden Rice”) makes a wonderful stainless steel rice cooker that comes with a free vegetable steamer.
4) High-speed blender – no one can say that you need a high-speed blender to eat healthy, because people have been eating wholesome, homemade food for centuries before they were even invented. But the amount of time and effort a high-speed blender saves is astounding. High-speed blenders aren’t just for smoothies. They also blend and cook hot soups made from fresh veggies, grind whole grains into flour, and turn frozen fruit into scrumptious, fat-free sorbet that’s so naturally sweet you don’t even have to add sugar. And these powerful blenders last a very, very long time. If I combined all the money I’d spent on the many cheap, low-quality blenders whose motors I burned out, I could’ve afforded one high-speed blender years earlier. I’ve owned a Vita-Mix for years and it’s still going strong. Many people report the BlendTec blender is just as powerful and has most of the same cool features.
5) Airtight glass storage containers – many people want to use less plastic bags, either to help the environment or just to save money. The only way these good intentions will become reality is if you have an easy alternative. Traditional glassware has glass lids, too, so they don’t seal tightly. This means food smells seep out into the rest of your refrigerator, and liquids can easily spill. The glass containers with plastic lids give you the best of both worlds. They can go in the oven (without the lids of course!), in the freezer (with the lids!), and in the dishwasher. Pyrex and Lock & Lock are two great brands.
The easiest way to add these fun new toys to your kitchen is to buy one at a time. Get in the habit of using it for a couple weeks or a month before purchasing a second item. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Honor where you are today. If you work 100 hours a week, you know you’re never going to cook. Don’t guilt trip yourself, and definitely don’t buy kitchen appliances you won’t use! Stock your freezer with some Amy’s organic frozen dinners and move on.
Missed last month’s column? Read it now:
Choosing the Healthiest Energy Bars in 2014 Have a Home Gym Cheaply and with Little Space, Part 2 Have a Home Gym Cheaply and with Little Space, Part 1 Updated: Back Pain 7 Healthy Snacks to Power You Through Physical Therapy and Beyond 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Juicing Getting in Shape…with Takeout Food? Gliding Discs for Exercise with Arthritis Top 6 Questions for Choosing the Best Weight Loss Plan for YOU This St. Patrick’s Day, Go Green for Real Fall Prevention for Older Adults 3 Tips for Exercising with Multiple Sclerosis Fitness for People with Parkinson’s Customized Exercises for People with Back Pain What Should People Look for When Hiring a Personal Trainer? How do trainers know what program is right for their clients? Who Benefits the Most from a Personal Trainer? Motivate Yourself to Better Health Three Dimensional Fitness