10 Kitchen Tools That Help You Prep Like a Pro

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  13 comments   :  22,852 Views

By now you probably have a good idea which foods you should eat, which to skip and a general idea of the ideal portion size for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight. Unfortunately, a lot of healthy foods spoil quickly or need special treatment when cooking or storing, and a lot of serving sizes are elusive. Is a serving of poultry the size of a deck of cards? A billiard ball? How much is a pinch? What do those measurements really mean, anyway?

Luckily, there are products available that take the guesswork out of portion control and can help keep your food flavorful, fresh, perfectly portioned and prepped for when you need it, saving you time, money and maybe even a few inches off your waistline.
 
Take the Guesswork Out of Food Measurement


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Food Scale, $10.88

Let's start with the obvious leader in food portion control. Although rather boring, there is nothing like the food scale when you want an accurate measurement of how much you're eating. With this portion-control dream-come-true, you'll never have to guess at a two-to-three-ounce size of meat again. Food scales are also great for baking or any time you need precise measurements.
 
Keep a Lid on It


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Silicone Lids, $18.93

Steam or cook your veggies, rice or fish without fear of splatter. These environmentally friendly silicone lids fit a variety of pots, pans and bowls and create an air-tight seal. The best part is that you can take these lids from cooking to fridge to avoid messy clean up (at least for another day or two). Save time and money with these reusable products.
 
A Better Butter Bowl


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Butter Keeper, $15.99

You may have heard that butter is no longer the enemy. When eaten in moderation and alongside a healthy diet of produce, lean meats and protein, butter isn't going to do you in after all. A butter keeper is just what you need to keep your butter soft, spreadable and fresh. The Zoie + Chloe butter keeper holds one stick of butter—just soften, tightly pack the butter into the top of the crock lid, add cold water to the base and invert the lid into the butter. The water helps create an airtight seal between the lid and base that keeps the butter just the way you want it for up to 30 days, no refrigeration necessary.
 
Save That Perfect Portion 


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Portion Control Bags, $2.24

A couple of dollars today can save you a lot on portion guesswork in the future. Pack perfect size snacks for work or travel, set aside a week's worth of cut up fruits and veggies, or know exactly how much leftover broth was in that can by saving it in a resealable baggie with cup measurements along the side. With this simple addition to your kitchen, healthy portion control can be as easy as grab-and-go.
 
Keep Berries Fresher, Longer


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Prepworks by Progressive Berry Keeper, $7.99

Berries and other small fruits have a short shelf life. If you can't get them into your smoothies or yogurt before they start to get mushy and fuzzy, consider keeping them a while longer with a berry keeper. You can wash and keep up to two cups of berries in the same container—the bottom and top lids keep water from seeping out, and the middle tray keeps berries separated and less likely to bruise. Switch the vent from open to closed depending on the berry variety.
 
A Faster Way to Prep Your Leafy Greens


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Herb Stripper, $7.39

Love kale, chard and other leafy greens but hate the time-consuming prep of stem removal? The Herb Stripper takes the hassle out of cutting away the chewy stems by stripping it off in one easy step. It also works great for leafy, fresh herbs. Choose from eight different-sized openings, pull the greens or herbs through the hole and discard the stem. Your only regret will be that you didn't have this handy tool sooner.
 
Perfectly Portioned Pasta


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Portion Control Basket, $9.99

Don't cut the carbs—control them with the Jokari Healthy Steps Portion Control Basket. Measure, cook and strain your pasta servings all in one basket. You can use up to four baskets in one pot or just one at a time for single servings. Clean up is a cinch as the pasta basket is dishwasher safe and collapses to take up very little space in your kitchen cabinets. You can also use these baskets to hold veggies or fish for steaming.
 
Go Nuts Over This Scoop-and-Serve Bowl


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Nut Portion Control Bowl, $6.50

Nuts are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber—in moderation. That one little word is sometimes tricky to tackle. Take the guesswork out of a serving size of nuts with this handy scoop and portion control bowl, marked to indicate one or two snack-size servings. The lid does double duty as a one-serving-size scoop.  
 
Give Your Food Lots of Love


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Silicone Food Huggers, $9.99

Save your produce, save the world. Well, okay, not exactly. But it will feel like a superhuman feat to keep your cukes, tomatoes and citrus covered and fresh with these lids that come in four different sizes. Each hugger fits snugly around your sliced fruit or vegetable, helping to keep air out and spoilage at bay.
 
Pod Today, Eat Tomorrow


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Herb Saver Storage Pods, $27.79

This set of three herb storage pods can keep your cilantro, rosemary and basil as fresh as the day you bought it, so you can make guacamole today and tacos next week without fear of your herbs turning brown and slimy in their plastic bag in your veggie drawer. The BPA-free pods have a refillable water basin in the bottom and fit nicely into your refrigerator door. They also work well for asparagus, green onions or other vegetables with long stalks.
 
Do you have any health food prep items to add to our list?

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Comments

  • 13
    My butter bell didn't cost me $16.00!!! - 3/18/2017   1:51:44 PM
  • 12
    Thank you, these are wonderful suggestions. I have many of your gadgets, and I will hunt around for a few of the others. To the list I would add a microplane, it is honestly one of my all time favorite gadgets. I use it on Parmesan cheese and citrus rinds. This an awesome way to add flavor without many calories...or sodium. - 1/24/2017   7:23:17 AM
  • 11
    I LOVE helpful gadgets!! Just ordered some of these on Amazon. One thing I do is use my ice cube trays for lots of stuff: freezing leftover chicken broth to just add to the pan when I want to make stir fry, using them to freeze portions of fresh herbs for soups and other cooked dishes, freezing pureed fruits that might go bad and using them to make super frothy smoothies, putting leftover tomato sauce and using in gazpacho...and the list goes on...

    I use a lot of oven bags: put root veggies in the bag, drizzle a T of avocado, EVOO, or EV coconut oil, add spices like smoked paprika, turmeric, or garam masala with garlic and a pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt and more heat of some kind if you like that. Shake it up. Spread the veggies in the bag flat in an oven proof pan. Place a few stems of fresh rosemary on top of the veggies in the bag. Seal the bag with the tie that comes with it. Cut six tiny slits in the bag. Roast in the oven at no more than 350 degrees Fahrenheit (the bags can't take any higher heat.) for half the time you would without a bag. If I use a 9 by 13 pan, it's usually done in 40 minutes.

    Your neighbors will be salivating because the aroma is scrumptious and it goes down the block, lol! Next time I'll share my secret for the best clay pot chicken EVER!! - 1/17/2017   8:16:35 PM
  • 10
    Fun stuff, not sure how useful though. Because after a while, portion sizes becomes second nature. - 1/16/2017   9:49:36 AM
  • 9
    Great article ~!
    Love that this article starts with the food weight scale! THAT ALONE is my biggest reason for my weight loss and maintenance this past year.ALSO ~important to weigh using GRAMS ~they are the MOST accurate form of keeping an eye on calories I have found!
    I have a berry keeper as I shop local farmers' markets quite often and these REALLY DO keep the berries fresher much longer! I like all the other tools listed as it is ALWAYS wise to have ways to help portion and keeping food fresh longer! I will have to look into purchasing those herb pods~ DH likes to cook using fresh herbs often and then they go bad.... - 1/6/2017   8:31:13 AM
  • 8
    I have a butter keeper, didn't pay that much, but close. We make our own butter, but have only used it 2 times. I found it to be annoying, water drippy and such. Cute idea and if no refrigeration is available it could help in a pinch, but then it is much too small for a family to not be filling up all the time. I guess it would be a nice addition if you were having a small dinner party and wished for a different butter dish to put on the table. IMHO not worth it. - 12/16/2016   5:08:29 PM
  • 7
    Finally some items that don't cost an arm and a leg, and are useful!! - 12/15/2016   10:11:42 AM
  • 6
    Butter keeper a must have ,also the food huggers. - 12/15/2016   9:19:48 AM
  • 5
    More stuff to fill that already full drawer... - 12/15/2016   5:59:17 AM
  • 4
    Love my apple slicer and berry rinsing bowl. - 12/15/2016   1:18:53 AM
  • 3
    Tools that really save time are great and help you do a good job, like a tomato knife, a cheese knife, a cherry pitter. Cooking healthy food is easier with the right tools. - 12/15/2016   12:27:59 AM
  • 2
    Great stocking stuffers. - 12/14/2016   8:22:26 PM
  • 1
    These look like tools worth trying. Thanks for posting. I am going to check them out. - 12/14/2016   12:44:56 AM

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