As a health coach, cooking healthily is important and the tools I use are just as important. These are the 5 tools that support me in making healthy, tasty food without spending hours in the kitchen.
1. Immersion Blender
This is my smoothie, dressing and sauce maker. It is also great for blending soups that I made in my Instant Pot (below). I use this ALL THE TIME and I don’t know what I would do without it. I like this better than a blender because it is smaller, compact, and easier to clean. Shoot you could even travel with it (although you'd probably have to check it because of the blades).
Being easy to clean is probably my favorite thing about it. When I make smoothies- I just give it a quick rinse. And if I have to bust out the soap it takes only a moment to wipe it off.
Overall, I don’t know what I would do without this cheap (under $40) kitchen tool- I would probably make less nutrient dense smoothies, and I love my nutrient dense smoothies.
Get smoothie ready here.
2. Cast Iron
Cast iron! What would I do without it?!!!! I love cast iron so much I have 3, all in different sizes. Cast iron is the best because I won't ingest unhealthy chemicals from using non-stick pans, I don't have to worry about scraping the coating, and I actually get more iron in my food. (Don’t believe me? Check out this non-profit that created an cast iron fish for Cambodians use in their cooking, which is helping reduce the country’s widespread anemia.)
Cast iron cooking does require oil, however, the pan absorbs much of the oil and only a small amount remains on the food. Whereas when you use non-stick, if you put oil in, all of the oil is on your food. This durable and long lasting stove top option, is also easy to clean. You don’t even need soap (actually you can’t use soap), and honestly you don’t have to fully clean it all the time- you just scrape off the excess food. Being oven-friendly, you can bake your favorite apple crisp in it or throw that stir fry in the oven to stay warm. Shoot, you can even take this sucker camping and cook over an open fire with it, as people have been doing for centuries. And another bonus- your wrists and forearms will get stronger too!
3. Sprouting Jars
This is the cheapest tool on the list (besides the bonus tool)- a mason jar and a piece of soft screen from the hardware store. This super simple tool is what I use to soak and sprout my beans and grains. Every week I throw some beans and/or grains in the jar and cover with the screen, then rinse and soak with water. Then I let them sprout on the counter, continually rinsing them every 8 or so hours until I am ready to cook them. Soaking and sprouting are great ways to improve digestibility and increase the nutrient density of beans, grains, nuts, and seeds. And it is a super easy habit to get into once you practice a few times. You will then always have beans and grains ready for quick and easy meals!
Get a couple!
4. Instant Pot
My stainless steel Instant Pot is my slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, and soup maker all in one. Although I primarily use it to cook my soaked and sprouted dried beans and grains. The Instant Pot is a great tool that times your food for you and then once done cooking keeps it warm on a low temperature. So this is great when you are busy with something else, but want to get dinner going and not worry about the water boiling over. Also great for making quick, tasty soups, steaming veggies, slow-cook recipes, and probably a lot more than I have done! My favorite thing? The Instant Pot drastically cuts bean cooking time down (taking 30-35 minutes rather than 1-4 hours).
You definitely want one.
5. A Dang Good Knife
Having a good knife is amazing. Being able to cut anything from a hard butternut squash to a soft tomato with one great knife is ideal. I basically only use 2 knives: a chef’s knife and a paring knife. That is all I need. These two knives live on my cutting board ready to cut the next vegetable for my upcoming meal.
Bonus: Are you throwing away one of the best kitchen tools out there?
6. Glass Jars
Ok, Ill admit I go a little crazy with these and believe me I have been teased and teased about my jar enthusiasm. But I mean they are free and can be used for everything! What is better than that? I am drinking water out of one right now, had a smoothie in one earlier, and will probably store leftovers in one later. These free reusable packaging are probably the most used and versatile kitchen tools of them all.
The glass jars I get when buying almond/peanut butter are my favorite. They are perfect water glasses, smoothie jars with a lid for easy transport (my immersion blender fits in perfectly), the best tea glass when combined with a koozie, soup transporters and storers, and make great tupperware for liquidy leftovers in general (you can even freeze them as long as you leave some space for expansion).
Jars are also a great, healthy way to store grains, beans, nuts, flours, superfoods, and anything else you buy in bulk. No more storing food in plastic! Reusing food packaging also reduces waste going to the landfill and/or the energy it takes to recycle it. As we tend to forget, reusing is before recycle in the Three Rs (reduce, reuse, then recycle).
And did I mention they are free???
And there you have it, my favorite kitchen tools that I use pretty much everyday that support me in cooking tasty healthy food!