8 Useful Kitchen Tools for the Healthy Cook


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  29 comments   :  31,848 Views

This time of year, it seems like we're all spending more time in the kitchen. Whether you're baking cookies for a big family party or just making dinner on a Tuesday night, having the right tools makes cooking more enjoyable. Today I'm sharing eight kitchen tools you might want to add to your holiday wish list to make recipe prep and cooking a breeze!

Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat
Non-stick silicone baking mats are great ways to cook items without any added fat. Whether you're baking cookies or roasting veggies, you can ensure your food doesn't stick without any added fat.
Multi-Purpose "Bench" Scraper/Chopper
A bench scraper is the perfect tool to speed up your prep time and keep your cutting board neat.  Every time you grab your knife, collect the scraper as well.  The straight edge lets you scoop up your chopped veggies without dulling the edge of your knife. The straight but not sharp edge makes this safe for new cooks and kids.
Tortilla Shell Pans
You won't need Mexican takeout when you have these tortilla shell pans in your kitchen.  They are perfect tool to cut out the fat in the traditional taco salad recipe.  No need for deep fat frying the tortilla in quarts of oil.  Bake them in the oven with just a mist of nonstick spray. You can also use these pans to bake cookie dough, fillo dough, or even pie crusts into "cups."

Cooking/Cooling Racks
Oven-safe cooking and cooling racks are so useful in the kitchen!  Use them to lift up meats off baking or roasting pans so the fat drips away from the meat and onto the pan.  They're also a must for faux frying foods.  The breaded foods are elevated so that heat can reach all sides to give a "just fried" appearance without the fat.


Immersion Blender
I love tools that will handle more than one job in the kitchen.  This immersion blender will do so much more than just puree foods.  It will chop fresh herbs to add to salsas, soups, or salad dressings.  Plus, it's perfect for healthy quick smoothies for breakfast or a snack. 
Cuisipro Dry Measuring Cups and Spoons
A recipe that results in a perfect dish is actually a formula with specific ratios.  Don't risk upsetting the ratio and risking failure by using warped or inaccurate measuring cups and spoons for your dry ingredients.  These stainless steel Cuisipro cups will not change in shape after endless runs through the dishwasher, so your teaspoon of baking soda will actually be just that: 1 teaspoon.
"Wonder" Measuring Cup
In the kitchen, dry and liquid measuring cups are not interchangeable. But what if you're measuring something that's in between--say, something sticky? To ensure perfect results, reach for the "Wonder" measuring cup, which can easily measure sticky ingredients such as honey, nut butters, or tahini.  Because of the tube style, you get the correct amount needed and without all the mess of a traditional measuring cup. You just slide up the measuring cup to push out the food!
Knife Sharpener
If the knife you are using is dull, you will apply more pressure when cutting and chopping, which can lead to a slip and then a cut.  Keep your knives sharp with affordable and easy to store knife sharpener.
What is your favorite healthy cooking tool?

You might also like: Chef Meg's Top 10 Tools for a Stress-Free Kitchen

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  • 29
    the good knife, the scale, the quality measuring tools, my knife sharpener, and a set of well seasoned, old fashioned cast iron frying pans and stainless steel pots, and parchment paper. Although hubs is eyeballing the copper ceramic skillets as seen on tv! - 8/29/2016   10:50:06 PM
  • 28
    The tortilla pan seems like an odd choice. A good non-stick skillet would be more useful. - 6/13/2016   11:28:42 AM
  • 27
    Costco gets Silpat wanna-be's that work well & are way cheaper. This list feels more like a series of ads. I see tortilla bowls at thrift stores all the time. NOT what I'd call a necessity. A really good knife, a kitchen scale. Maybe a food processor or heavy duty blender/Ninja/Vitamix/Blentec for more fruits & veggies. - 5/30/2016   7:32:06 PM
  • 26
    The tortilla shell pan is an odd one on this list. I love my immersion blender and now that I realize I can use it to make individual smoothies I love it even more.

    A lot of recipes I come across use food processors or powerful blenders so I think either of those would be an essential item since you can use them to make a wide range of things. (-whispers- Almond Butter) - 9/25/2014   3:58:20 PM
  • 25
    It can be really expensive but I think its wise to invest in one really good 'professional' knife. They have a lifetime guarantee and make cutting so much easier. On the less expensive side Victorinox or a more expensive Global or Shun. It makes cutting vegetables feel like you're cutting butter. I add so many more vegetables to things now that I can cut turnip, squash, and other hard vegetables with almost no effort. - 9/25/2014   2:09:53 PM
  • 24
    Things I wish I had gotten sooner: a spider (the giant wire spoon to remove items from hot liquids) ,a meat mallet/ice buster, digital scale, and a digital thermometer. The cooling rack and measuring cups are must haves for everyone. - 9/25/2014   11:01:47 AM
  • 23
    I love my Clever Cutter (made by Ronan). Google Ronan Tools and search for it. It is like cutting with a pair of scissors, except where the bottom blade would be is a little cutting board, about an inch or inch and a half in width. It's super for food prep for vegetables or cheese because you don't have to drag out (and wash) your whole big cutting board. Plus, you can cut the food directly into your bowl or pan! I love it!!! - 9/25/2014   7:00:52 AM
  • 22
    I love the wonder measuring cups. I have had both sizes for many years now and find they are so useful in many ways.
    I am glad to see they still make them, as I may need a new one soon. - 6/6/2014   2:59:22 AM
    I love my blender and measuring cups. Would love to find some of those silicone baking sheets, not a fan of using oil or spray oil! - 4/11/2014   4:51:14 PM
  • 20
    My must haves: food scale, measuring spoons and cups, good knives, and some good pans, I use my 13x 9, my flat baking pans, and my broiling pan the most. - 3/26/2014   7:44:16 AM
  • 19
    Excellent point, RD03875! Gotta speak up for the *non-rich* among us - and there are *PLENTY*! - 12/20/2013   4:36:51 AM
  • 18
    Once my husband bought me an immersion blender - it did become a 'must have'. I would probably use the silpat mat. Another good investment for my kitchen was a baking stone. - 12/17/2012   9:11:59 AM
  • 17
    I really love using my julienne peeler to make faux pasta with zucchini! - 12/15/2012   10:21:55 PM
  • 16
    What about a food scale? Much more exact than volumetric measurements. - 12/14/2012   2:53:28 PM
  • 15
    That's a list for the rich people right? MUST HAVES? NOT to me! - 12/14/2012   11:10:49 AM
  • 14
    Great list. Silpats are wonderful. And the immersion blender? It's fantastic. You don't need a fancy one. You can find them at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I was given a "Wonder" style measuring cup as a gift (same item, different brand) and it's great; it's a great tool to have when you are measuring both dry and wet ingredients for a recipe. Bench scrapers are also multi-purpose and pretty inexpensive. - 12/14/2012   11:00:25 AM
  • 13
    I agree that these are hardly 'must haves" Lucinda Scala Quinn says 2 gadgets are kitchen "must haves" a sharp knife and a Spirtle ....these are wannas. I have the tortilla shell and have used it once, I use my measuring cups often, but the rest ......can live W/O - 12/14/2012   10:33:20 AM
  • 12
    I've been thinking of the non stick mats for a while now. I might have to dive in and get one now that the holiday baking season is here. - 12/14/2012   9:35:32 AM
  • 11
    I have to agree that all these are good kitchen gadgets to have except the tortilla shell pan. I live by what Alton Brown says on tv, if it doesn't have multiple uses, don't buy it. There are plenty of other ways to make tortilla bowls. Like someone else said, balled up aluminum foil. Or I've seen using an upside cupcake pan. And I don't agree that these are absolute Must Haves either. Out of the 8 listed, I only have 2 and my kitchen function just fine. Most of these I consider bonus kitchen items. - 12/14/2012   7:34:39 AM
  • 10
    Whatever happened to the microplane?? One of the handiest implements in the kitchen, as well as zest from citrus, ribbons of zucchini etc, it grates the smallest piece of cheese into the largest pile of grated cheese - 12/14/2012   4:31:48 AM
  • 9
    Measuring Cups! Very Important And I Could Use Another Immersion Blender. It's Great For Smoothies For One! Thanks For This Information! :) - 12/13/2012   11:49:19 PM
  • 8
    Thanks for this blog. It has given me ideas for gifts for my sister. - 12/13/2012   12:41:01 PM
  • 7
    Just added the Silpat to my wish list. :) - 12/13/2012   11:39:25 AM
  • 6
    I guess what's 'essential' depends on what a person mostly cooks... - 12/13/2012   9:21:22 AM
  • 5
    Where is kitchen scale? I think when you are trying to lose weight, a kitchen scale is more important than a knife sharpener.

    The tortilla shell thing sounds nice, but in a small apt kitchen like mine, a balled up piece of tin foil does the same job. - 12/13/2012   8:56:34 AM
    Silpat. I only wish I had discovered it YEARS ago! And the immersion blender...I can't count the number of breakfast drinks I made my kids when they were little! - 12/13/2012   8:46:14 AM
  • 3
    I'm disappointed that SP would term such items "must-haves." SEBASTIANLADY, you are so right! We " must-have" basics. All this other stuff might be just STUFF (clutter) and inappropriate for those with limited space or money - or those who simply choose to make do with less. - 12/13/2012   8:34:20 AM
    More basic than the above. A good set of sharp knives (that can be sharpened and honed). A big roasting pan for doing roasted veggies. A broiler pan for broiling chicken. - 12/13/2012   8:27:26 AM
  • 1
    my favorite kitchen tool is my food processor....i use it at least once a week, often more! - 12/13/2012   7:56:59 AM

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