Top 5 Kitchen Tools for Cooking Healthy

by in Healthy Tips, February 6, 2009

These days, it seems like there is a kitchen gadget for just about everything — so which tools are must haves for making a healthy meal? Here are five I’d be lost without.

Microplane
1) Microplane or Rasp
These hand-held graters are perfect for citrus, hard cheeses, garlic, ginger, nutmeg and chocolate. A small amount of any of these ingredients can add tremendous taste without a lot of calories. Citrus zest adds flavor, essential oils and specs of color –- add orange zest to a vinaigrette or lemon zest to cupcake frosting. Make a gremalata for roasted potatoes. Grate hard cheeses such as Parmesan or Romano over pasta or bruschetta. There is nothing like the smell of freshly grated nutmeg –- add it to creamy sauces and or baked fruit dishes. For a low calorie treat, sprinkle dark chocolate shavings in your coffee or hot chocolate.

Mini Chopper
2) Mini Chopper
I used to think I needed to chop everything by hand and only resorted to the clunky food processor for large jobs — then I discovered the mini chopper. It’s the perfect size for small ingredients such as garlic, ginger and fresh herbs. Some models even come with an adjustable blade for grinding spices. Chop up some cilantro, garlic, ginger, serrano chili and scallion, add to a bowl with some lime juice, honey and canola oil, and you have a healthy and flavorful marinade for chicken, fish or vegetables.

Reamer
3) Lemon Reamer
Toby makes fun of me but I am a huge fan of the reamer! Get all the juice out of your winter citrus with this simple hand-held tool. A citrus press is also wonderful for this. Add vitamin C and bright citrus flavor to sweet and savory dishes. Liven up dips. Juice lemons, limes, grapefruit, blood oranges — whatever!

Scale
4) Measuring Tools
Measuring cups and spoons are a healthy cook’s must-haves. You don’t have to measure everything you eat, but take the time to measure high-calorie ingredients such as oils, nuts and cheeses. A good looking scale is gorgeous on any kitchen counter and will come in handy too.

Meat Thermometer
5) Meat Thermometer
It’s not always easy to tell if meat is cooked properly. The easiest solution? A meat thermometer, which also works well for poultry and fish too.

    Try your tools out with these recipes:

  • Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Gremolata
  • Edamame Dip
  • TELL US: What are some of your favorite tools?

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Comments (30)

  1. Katy says:

    Skip the dial thermometer and pay the extra for the digital with a counter read out. It can be set to beep when food is at correct temp.
    no more under or over cooked meals. Safer, easier and Tastier.

  2. Dana White says:

    Hi Mary -
    The Food Network Store has a great selection of knives, my favorite brand is Global.

  3. Laurel Johnson says:

    Handheld Immersion Blender should also be at top of the list

  4. Annemarie Petcher says:

    I have a Pyrex digital thermometer (about $25 from Bed, Bath and Beyond) that is extremely accurate; I tested it against other thermometers. I use it all the time. Also, I need a new set of cookware. I am using T-fal but the non-stick coating is wearing off. I’m not sure if all stainless steel or non-stick is the way to go. Any suggestions? I really like the clean-up of the non-stick, but have heard that non-stick coatings can be harmful. Is that true? Also, is it better to buy a high grade aluminum, non-stick set vs. stainless steel, non-stick set? I do average cooking with some fancy things for just my husband and myself. If I need really high temps for cooking, I use my cast-iron cookware. I wish I could use that for everday, but it’s just too darn heavy! I’m really undecided on what to buy. Any comments? Thank You!

  5. Marsha Hart says:

    I have used my square-holed potato masher to chop hard-boiled eggs for salad…..it works like a charm.

  6. mary ann says:

    where can i get the measuring spoons and cups that paula deen uses

  7. Capt. Kirk says:

    I have a Poulder digital read thermometer. It works wonderfully. I can keep track of oven temp and food temp at the same time. I found it a bit confusing to learn how to set it up at first but, once i figured it out it worked fine. Foods cooled were perfect.
    The gentleman with the cast iron cookware to be cleaned can put it on the stovefilled about halfway with water and add baking soda to it. boil this mixture for a while and your cast iron should be ready to season.

  8. Kristine Brabson says:

    Marsha, that’s a genius idea about using your potato masher to chop hard boiled eggs for salad. I love the multipurpose tools.

    Mary Ann, Foodnetworkstore.com carries lots of kitchen items from Paula Deen. You might try browsing this section of her products.

  9. skebo says:

    The hard anodized cook ware is absolutely the best next to copper. Stainless steel is good but hard to clean. The HA cookware cleans wonderfully and can go in the oven.

  10. Ann says:

    Can immersion blenders be used with Circulon cookwear? Will the nonstick coating be damaged?

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