Eating healthy is not an easy task to do for most, especially in places that have been influenced by western civilization. If it was easy, we probably wouldn’t be in an obesity epidemic. There are many factors that play into this problem but two factors that stand out, which are time and convenience. Two things that people of this era love to have. Therefore, many will opt to order out for food or go out to eat but that usually comes at a cost.
Eating or ordering out usually leads people to over-indulge, make poor food choices, and/or spend money on an expensive meal when it could’ve been used for groceries. How will those types of habits help one eat healthier? All I’ve seen as a result of this is people not reaching their fitness and health goals, repeating a never-ending cycle over and over. But with most problems, usually comes solutions. I have found that small kitchen appliances can be part of the solution in making eating healthier easy.
Small kitchen appliances can save time and money in the long haul as well as provide immediate convenience. Having these small kitchen appliances in your home will allow you to have more control. The technology of these appliances can make meal planning and prep more efficient, save money on energy usage in your home, and lower expenses on food by ordering and/or eating out less because you can make similar quality food at home.
Below, I’ll be covering several types of small kitchen appliances about how they can make eating healthy easier for both you and your family as well as links to where you can find them. I have several in my home that my wife and I use to this day to feed our family. We have absolutely no regrets whatsoever. Every appliance is serving a purpose, making eating healthier easier and family life more convenient.
Just as the name sounds, it does just that. Multi-cookers can cook multiple ways all in one appliance which also makes it great if kitchen space isn’t in abundance because it can replace several appliances. They usually can boil, simmer, bake, fry, deep fry, grill roast, stew, steam, and/or brown food.
The beauty is that multi-cookers can provide the variety that you and your family may need in order to stay on track with eating healthy. Unlike myself, who can eat the same thing a few days in a row. Some people just can’t and may go eat something else unhealthy instead.
Another great feature about multi-cookers is that they usually have pre-set programs or systems in place to make sure your food comes out great. I know how it feels to have your spirits up, thinking you’re about to eat a good meal you prepared for and it not to turn out good at all. So, you end up ordering out instead. Thankfully, with the technology in these multi-cookers, it takes the guesswork out. I will say, one still needs to know how to season food to help with flavor, the multi-cooker won’t do that for you.
Smoothie time! If you have a busy schedule and are short on time, you can quickly make a smoothie. Have a smoothie for breakfast, lunch, or dinner if you’d like. Many people toss protein powder or meal replacements into their blenders to make shakes. One can use it to make dips like salsa or hummus. In my home, we use the Ninja and Magic Bullet by NutriBullet but several of my clients have the king of all blenders some say, a Vitamix which has one variety that can actually make soup and heat it at the same time.
If you have a newborn and want to stay away from all the processed food, make your baby food in a blender. Also, blending healthy food you hate with the ones you like could be a way to have a more balanced diet. Some companies have blenders you can take on the go. If you’re out and about, stop at the grocery store and pick up some fresh produce and make a smoothie on the spot if you’d like.
Sometimes you just want something to drink or you may be on a liquid diet for a medical reason. A good juicer will come in hand. Just as above, you can the juice foods you hate that are healthy with healthy foods you like for a more balanced diet. All in all, it can be a great way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, especially if texture is an issue. A word of caution, be sure to only juice what you’re going to drink and drink it within a reasonable amount of time because bacteria can form if not pasteurized. Also, there is no fiber in the drink, so be mindful of how much you juice, which may raise your blood sugar.
Besides those words of caution, juicing is a quick way of getting concentrated nutrients into your system and may give your digestive system a break from working so hard not having to break down solids. I suggest to my client to consume juice during or after a workout or on workout days to help replenish glycogen stores.
In terms of purchasing a juicer, you have four options: centrifugal, masticating, twin gear, and hydraulic or pneumatic press. Each type extracts juice from food in different ways having its own pros and cons. Centrifugal will juice the fastest followed by masticating and twin. They all use a cutting type method to break down the food but the faster it juices the food, the more oxidized the nutrients will be. The pressing juicers preserve the nutrients more by not oxidizing them through pressing food matter instead and can be used to make but plant-based milk and nut butter. Here is an opportunity to level up your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Here’s a classic for you, a slow cooker and I’m pretty sure you heard of the most famous ones of all, the CrockPot. I remember my father cooking squirrel, rabbit, and deer meat in this all the time. The meat would be so tender, just falling off the bone after a long day slowly cooking for hours. Using a slow cooker will take some planning and patience but you won’t have to cook once you get back home or come from wherever you are because the meal will be nice, hot, and ready to eat, full of flavor. With the slow cooker, you set it and leave it. Your evening after work will have one less task to do which will be cooking. Have yourself a nice healthy stew or soup waiting for you and your family.
Perhaps you like grilling, it’s go-to when cooking but you live in an area where it gets cold for part of the year. An indoor grill would be perfect. If you’re one to count calories or conscious about your fat intake, grilling can help cut down on excess fat. The George Forman Grill is praise for doing just that. The George Forman Grill got me through graduate school. I cooked the majority of my meats on it.
Another great thing about an indoor grill, they’re electric so you don’t need charcoal, lighter fluid, or propane. Furthermore, when using an electric grill, I had more control over the heat source allowing me to reduce the chances of forming Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when muscle meat, including beef, pork, fish, or poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods (1, 2). It’s a safer and more health-conscious way of grilling.
Now, I don’t about you but when I think of a griddle, my mind thinks of IHop pancakes, but you can cook so much more on a griddle than breakfast. You can do the relatively same as you would on a grill. The beauty of having a griddle is that it will work great for batch cooking. It will make meal prepping much easier. Get yourself some meal prep containers with sections and cook something for each section. Make your own Hungry Man dinner. Plop a few steaks then place one in each container, next load your griddle up with some asparagus and repeat the process until each section is filled.
You can also load the griddle with several types of food at once since the flat surface is usually spacious. That feature makes it great to use for one-dish meals. Cook everything together and dump it in a container. There are several kinds you get, ranging from a classic electric tabletop griddle or a commercial grade tabletop griddle. Another option is a stovetop griddle which Lodge has been making pretty good cast iron products for years.
By making the prepping and cooking of your food more convenient, reaching your goal of eating healthier should be easier. By having some of these small kitchen appliances in your home, you’re building an environment where the barrier to cooking comes down. The convenience of making meals in a timely and more efficient way is totally possible now. Most of these appliances come with recipes and apps now, take advantage of them.
Here is an example of what you could do with these appliances for 2-3 days worth of food. Pick a day to meal prep first. Second, make a large batch smoothie with blender or juice some fruits and vegetables and store in a few drinking containers for a beverage If you run out of containers, pour the excess in ice cube trays to consume at a later date. Third, break out any of the cooking appliances above and make a one-dish meal that you don’t mind eating for 2-3 days for lunch to take to work and put in storage containers. Finally, do the same for dinner.
It’s all about using these small kitchen appliances as tools in a system that allows you to eat nutritious food you enjoy with the least amount of cooking error and manage your time wisely to prepare and cook it. Take advantage of today’s technological advances and use them to improve your health and wellbeing.
Be Healthy, Be Balanced, Be You