10 Healthy Kitchen Tools This Chef Swears Will Motivate You To Eat Better
Chef Meredith Laurence shares the insider secrets on creating a healthy kitchen that is not only motivating to eat better but makes it impossible not to.
The secrets to a healthy kitchen start with advice from a top chef
You’ve heard the healthy kitchen tips before about ridding your cabinets of junk food and loading up your fridge and pantry with nutritious foods. But what if that is not enough? Who herself has ordered a pizza or picked up some drive-thru on the way home? It’s the food equivalent of having a closetful of clothes, yet having nothing to wear.
Chef Meredith Laurence, dubbed The Blue Jean Chef, knows this too well. “As much as I love eating meals out at restaurants, I know from having worked in them that you can prepare a more balanced and healthier meal at home,” admits Laurence. Her secret? (Or rather her 10 secrets.) Make your kitchen a place you enjoy. “There is no question that having a well-organized kitchen with the right tools and appliances will increase the chances of not only cooking at home, but enjoying the process too. With a well-organized kitchen and a few good resources, you can make meals that taste great and are also better for you and your family.”
Find out what her 10 tools and tips are for eating healthier.
Sometimes it’s just easier to find a healthier version, than to give up food completely. Deep fried foods taste so good – but there is a healthier way to cook: An air fryer.
The chef says: “Air fryers use convection heat – or blown around hot air – in a small space to replicate the textures and flavors of deep-fried foods using just a fraction of the oil,” says Laurence. “We all find it hard to resist that crunch of deep-fried snacks, so the air fryer is a great way to fulfill that desire and still feel good about it.”
T-fal ActiFry Original 1kg Fryer- with timer, $198.88 at amazon.ca.
A good quality blender
Chunky smoothies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.
The chef says: “A really good blender will get foods so smooth that they can create soups that you would swear were loaded with cream,” says Laurence. “Powerful blenders can also grind foods into a powder so you could make your own flours and really cook from scratch if you wanted to.”
Vitamix Professional Series 750 Heritage Collection, $749 at amazon.ca.
A pressure cooker
No time for cooking, instead of fast food, just take it slow. A healthy kitchen should never be without one of these.
The chef says: “Sometimes time is the deterrent to cooking at home,” she says. “Pressure cookers solve that problem because they create delicious meals in one third of the time it would take you to make it on the stovetop or oven. In addition, you cook with liquids such as stock or water and can therefore eliminate oils altogether if you want to.”
Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker and Slow Cooker, $149.95 at amazon.ca.
No matter what diet is trending, portion sizes rule the weight maintenance game.
The chef says: “It’s deceptive knowing how much you are eating, or should be eating just by looking at foods,” says Laurence. “Sometimes you need to weigh meats, chicken or fish to know exactly what you’re eating. A weigh scale is essential to turn your guesses into knowledge.”
Smart Weigh Digital Glass Top Kitchen and Food Scale, $20.99 at amazon.ca.
A food chopper
This healthy kitchen tool is a hack that will save you time and money. Plus, it encourages you to eat clean, whole foods!
The chef says: “Knowing that you don’t have to spend time chopping takes away the excuse that there’s no time to cook. It’s also a money saver if you’re accustomed to buying pre-chopped foods.”
OXO Good Grips Vegetable and Onion Chopper with Easy Pour Opening, $36.20 at amazon.ca.
Oil spritz bottle
Good fats are obviously good for you, but too much can add up in calories.
The chef says: “Everyone needs a little oil in their diet and the flavor that oils add to food is undeniable,” says Laurence. “Using a spray bottle or mister for your oil is a great way to control how much you add. These days you can even get an oil spray bottle that will dispense just a quarter teaspoon at a time.”
Misto Tools Oil Sprayer, $12.99 at amazon.ca.
A healthy at-home chef should always prepare foods that are good for you – and won’t make you sick.
The chef says: “Cooking safely is also an important part of making a healthier choice,” she says. “Knowing the internal temperature of meats that you are cooking also gives a cook confidence and eliminates the guesswork. Every cook should have an instant-read thermometer in his or her toolkit.”
Patec Digital Instant Read LCD Screen Kitchen Cooking Thermometer Food Thermometer, $10.99 at amazon.ca.
Create a meal plan
This is the best strategy for creating meals that are not only healthy, but are dishes you’ll look forward to prepping and eating.
The chef says: “Making a meal plan for the week and a shopping list will help you create balanced meals with the right ingredients on hand,” she says. “It saves you the time of having to decide what to make each night too, which is often half the battle.”
Meal Planner: Track And Plan Your Meals Weekly (52 Week Food Planner), $8.75 at amazon.ca.
Never be without a recipe
It’s time to bookmark your favourite recipes site and create a library of cookbook.
The chef says: “Everyone needs someone to lean on,” she says. “A few good cookbooks or a favorite website with recipes and instructions that you can follow will be that friend for you to turn to. Good cookbooks and websites not only have recipes but also provide good information on technique and cooking tips to help the home cook succeed.”
Air Fry Genius: 100+ New Recipes for Every Air Fryer, $31.95 at amazon.ca.
Experiment and play – have fun in your healthy kitchen!
A healthy kitchen starts with a healthy attitude. Don’t get frustrated with recipes or let bad outcomes make you hate cooking.
The chef says: “If you’re not an experienced cook, start by working from a recipe but remember that you can tweak the recipe to suit your needs,” says Laurence. “It helps to read a recipe from beginning to end before starting. Then organize your ingredients for the meal you are making –otherwise known as doing your ‘mise en place’. This simply means measuring out all of your ingredients before you start cooking. That keeps the cooking process much more relaxing and fun.”