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Nutrition Articles  ›  Quick and Easy

Tools for a Healthy Kitchen

Save Time & Eat Healthy with these Small Appliances

-- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
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Standard kitchen appliances like ranges, ovens, and refrigerators undoubtedly revolutionized the way we prepare food. Chances are you probably have all three, and use them constantly. But there’s a whole world of gadgets and small appliances that can further reduce the time and effort you have spend creating delicious and healthy cuisine. These gadgets are not essential to eating well, but they can make it more fun and a whole lot easier. Here is a guide to kitchen appliances that will help you in your never-ending quest to eat more healthfully.
 
Blender
  • Why to buy: If you want to make smoothies, milkshakes, pureed soups, or a variety of other blended concoctions, then a blender is for you.
  • How to buy: You can buy a blender almost anywhere. Look for a glass pitcher that holds at least 40 ounces, a weighted base, removable stainless steel blades for easy cleaning, and at least 350 watts of power.
  • Cost to buy: $40 and up.
Crockpot
  • Why to buy: When you walk in the door from a long day, the last thing you want to do is to start chopping vegetables for dinner. A Crockpot, or slow-cooker, can help by having dinner ready for you when you walk in the door! Place your ingredients in the crock in the morning, turn it on, and leave. Healthy dinners are a breeze.
  • How to buy: You can buy a Crockpot online and in stores that sell kitchen appliances. If you’re just cooking for a few people, look for one with a three- to four-quart capacity. Large families might want to consider a six-quart crock. Also be sure to buy one with a removable crock (for easy cleaning), and a one-piece glass lid.
  • Cost to buy: $30 and up.
Dehydrator
  • Why to buy: Often, sticking to a healthy diet isn't difficult during the meals themselves, but in between them. Ever become famished at 4 p.m., only to gobble down whatever was lying around and regret it instantly? Keeping healthy dehydrated snacks around solves this problem. In a dehydrator, you can make dried fruit, dried tomatoes, fruit leather, and even protein-rich jerky. Stock your pantry (or even the glove compartment in your car) with these healthy, whole-food snacks and thwart the temptation to inhale empty calories from chips, pretzels, or cookies. With this easy-to-use appliance, you can also make more complex "raw" treats like granola, crispy raw almonds, and sprouted grain crackers. Pick up a raw foods “un-cookbook” or look online for recipes.
  • How to buy: You can purchase a dehydrator online and in stores that sell kitchen appliances. When choosing, look for one that gets horizontal aid flow, as it will dehydrate more evenly. Also take into consideration the size of the unit, in terms of its capacity (will it make enough?) and its overall size (you’ll have to store it when it’s not in use).
  • Cost to buy: $30 and up.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • My go to items are my crockpots, my measuring tools (scale, cups, spoons,), my spice grinder (flaxseed) and my knife block. I also have a toaster oven and a blender that i use semi often but not as much as the others. - 3/27/2014 9:51:27 AM
  • That does it! I am finally getting a dehydrator AND a toaster oven. What have I, as a single person with no one else around, been thinking? Both would really help me a lot. Good stuff. I should get the few other things I don't have, but for now it's two basics: toaster oven and dehydrator. - 3/22/2014 3:12:00 PM
  • The rice cooker is the most important for me. I have never once successfully made rice on the stove top, it's always over cooked or under cooked, and always leaves a layer of burned rice on the bottom. Once i got the rice cooker, no problems at all. It's perfect. - 12/3/2013 7:48:11 PM
  • I couldn't live without my crockpot. I am retired, but enjoy cooking up a big batch or curried chicken, or healthy chili and then freezing for later. I use to do this while at work, but now I have the benefit of smelling the wonderful food all day long. I also adore my rice cooker for lentils, rice, beans and quinoa. I haven't tried oatmeal in it yet, but have heard a lot of people do that. We shall see. - 10/4/2013 10:52:50 AM
  • I love my enameled cast iron dutch oven & prefer it to a crock pot. An electric pressure cooker is nice though but can be a bit fiddly. Rice can cook nicely in the oven; no need for a rice cooker. I have a dehydrator but haven't used it in years. A really good blender is great for smoothies, but most of the items listed I've had & thrift stored! - 7/15/2013 4:44:59 AM
  • A pressure cooker is a very useful tool to cook quick and healthy meals. I agree with Alyfin - 1/13/2013 4:51:26 PM
  • My favorite feature on my oven, crock pot and rice cooker are the ability to set a delayed cook time. Then I can prep in the morning, set to start while I am at work, and dinner for the family is ready to dish up when I walk in the door. I don't have a food processor...just chop by hand, but I am considering one now that I do more batch cooking. Would be helpful when prepping more than one meal at a time. I am blessed with wrap around counters in my kitchen...and now that they are finally clear and clean I vow to keep them that way! :-) - 11/24/2012 12:07:53 PM
  • getting spark points hoepefuly - 9/4/2012 1:54:57 PM
  • For anyone with concerns about expense.... try the Goodwill, garage sales, etc. I got a George Foreman grill at a Goodwill for $6.50. This was not listed, but it is my "go to" right now!. Slice and spread out veggies (green tomatoes, Zucchini and yellow squash, turnips, onions, green peppers, (didn't like parsnips), plus fish, salmon, pork chops, hamburgers are great on the grill. I grill the veggies 6-8 minutes, brush on a little coconut oil, shut the lid and minutes later my meal is done.
    Dehydrator... get the biggest/best you can afford... it 's worth it.
    Blender.... check on line but a hand blender is amazing!
    Since I cook for one, I try to find things that will cook one meal, one portion...
    - 8/23/2012 8:09:55 AM
  • Instead of juicer I should have said Nu wave twister, it`s size is perfect, effective and easy to clean. - 6/11/2012 1:33:42 PM
  • I love my crock, juicer and my toaster oven. Wouldn`t want to be without them. - 6/11/2012 1:26:12 PM
  • Of the listed items, I only own one: a food scale I bought at a dollar store when I started this journey. I can't even think of buying any of those things - I've never owned them, and I now do all my cooking in a microwave, because my stove no longer works and I can't afford to get it fixed. Yet, I am managing to eat healthy - VERY inexpensively, because I have no money coming in and I am living on credit card cash advances, hoping my company MAY survive - we're struggling to try to make it. Exercise is still free, thank God - and I did make it past my goal weight without any of those expensive items. - 5/17/2012 12:20:50 PM
  • I just got a blender/food processor combo as an engagement gift. I haven't even taken it out of the box yet, mostly due to lack of space. I look forward to making smoothies in the blender and trying out the food processor. - 1/19/2011 12:29:47 AM
  • I just priced a few of the items at Wal-mart, not bad. I've also seen soem items at thrift stores. The old juicers look like they will leave a big mess. haven't thought of just asking around. This is one I think I'll try. - 1/16/2011 7:45:24 PM
  • The replies to the article were almost more informative than the article itself. Lol!

    Two things on the list that I can't live without: my toaster oven and my rice cooker. Both are ancient but they work wonderfully. I also love my food scale.

    I also have a crock pot that I'm finally starting to use more often.

    My problem is I have no counter space. Trying to keep the dishes off my one counter is hard enough, let alone finding a place to set things up. My toaster oven hangs from under a cabinet. - 11/7/2010 1:21:49 AM