Contrary to what many people believe, cooking doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. I’ve heard it said that, “If you can read, you can cook,” the idea being that cooking only requires that one can read a recipe. I believe that’s, well…almost true – if we read carefully and follow the directions provided in a recipe, odds are strong that we’ll produce a pretty good dish – but there’s also the matter of kitchen equipment. Like any skill, cooking requires some basic tools which make the entire process much easier.
Ever tried to peel a carrot with a knife because you lacked a vegetable peeler? Or hack through a melon with a paring knife? Or ladle soup out of the pot with a tablespoon? If this were your experience of cooking, OF COURSE you’d hate doing it!? The effort would never be worth the result, right?
I can’t tell you how many people I speak to who want to get healthy and realize that getting healthy involves cooking more. They’re committed to learning to cook, but end up giving up because they haven’t invested in the very tools that would make it easier.
I’ve put together a list of the tools that I find essential for a “healthy kitchen”. Please bear in mind that the mini-appliances you choose to equip your kitchen with will depend on your individual lifestyle. For example, for a coffee drinker, a coffee maker is an essential, but for someone who drinks green juice, the juicer is an essential. You’ll have to take a look at your lifestyle and make that decision for yourself. You’ll also have to consider your available storage space and counter space when deciding which items would serve you best.
These are the things that I use again and again as a home cook. If you’re serious about taking control of your health, they are worth investing in (and you can certainly do this over a period of time; they need not be purchased all at once).
- Chef’s Knife: A sharp and versatile knife for chopping vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
- Cutting Board: A sturdy cutting board for safely chopping and preparing ingredients.
- Vegetable Peeler: Used for peeling skins of fruits and vegetables quickly and efficiently.
- Mixing Bowls: Assorted sizes of mixing bowls for mixing ingredients, marinating, and storing food.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: Essential for precise measurement of ingredients while following recipes.
- Blender: Perfect for making smoothies, soups, and sauces with fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Food Processor: Great for chopping, slicing, and shredding vegetables, as well as making nut butters and dips.
- Slow Cooker: Ideal for preparing healthy and flavorful meals with minimal effort.
- Steamer Basket: Used to steam vegetables, fish, and other foods, preserving their nutrients.
- Salad Spinner: Helps to clean and dry salad greens and herbs efficiently.
- Non-Stick Cookware: High-quality pans and pots with a non-stick surface, reducing the need for excessive oil.
- Oven Mitts: Protect your hands while handling hot pots, pans, and baking trays.
- Baking Sheet: Ideal for baking vegetables, tofu, and making homemade granola.
- Silicone Spatulas: Heat-resistant spatulas for stirring, scraping, and folding ingredients.
- Stainless Steel Whisk: Essential for whisking eggs, blending dressings, and incorporating air into mixtures.
- Juicer: Perfect for extracting fresh juice from fruits and vegetables.
- Immersion Blender: Handy for blending soups and sauces directly in the pot.
- Grater/Zester: Ideal for grating cheese, zesting citrus fruits, and grating vegetables.
- Colander: Used for draining pasta, washing vegetables, and straining liquids.
- Glass Food Storage Containers: Ideal for storing leftovers and prepping meals in advance.