Food & Drink

To Your Health: Great gear for your kitchen

The standard excuse we use for not cooking is that we don’t have time. Eating out may seem easy and convenient, but it is hard on your wallet and your waistline. Restaurant food, especially fast food, is often laden with sodium and trans fats. You can greatly improve your health by preparing your own meals. Having a well-stocked kitchen is necessary for creating healthy comfort foods. We discussed the pantry in last month’s column. Today we will talk about kitchen appliances and the fridge and freezer.

Appliances

Here are the top five appliances to have in your kitchen for creating delicious healthy meals with less effort. Of course, you can still keep your microwave to reheat homemade leftovers.

Slow cooker: This is one of the most versatile appliances for your healthy kitchen. It provides a super easy way to cook healthy meals with the least amount of time spent in the kitchen.

Toaster oven: These are not just for toasting bread. You can use them to make after-school snacks such as English muffins or pita pizza. You can roast vegetables or make baked sweet potato fries.

Bread maker: Imagine spending a total of 15 minutes assembling bread in the bread maker and soup in the slow cooker, then running out for errands and coming home to a nice hot meal of soup and homemade bread! Need we say more?

Hand/immersion blender: Use this to quickly make smoothies, puree soups, blend batters, mix beverages, and more. Plus it is easy to clean.

Indoor contact grill: Latest models can not only cook meats and grill vegetables and fruits, they also make awesome grilled sandwiches and even pizza. Some models come with extra attachments for making pancakes and waffles.

Small food processor: These are handy for making dips, marinades, salsa and salad dressings. They can also be used for grinding nuts, flax seeds, and spices.

Fridge/freezer

• Plan a weekly grocery trip for your refrigerator. Choose low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Buy seasonal fresh produce. Choose whole grain breads and tortillas. Get spreads such as hummus, pesto and natural peanut butter. Buy fresh eggs and lean meats.



• Stock up on freezer items on sale.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. Choose options without added sauces and sugar. Keep skinless chicken breasts

and ground lean turkey. Have a variety of veggie burgers.



Parul Kharod is a clinical dietitian with WakeMed Health & Hospitals. Reach her at pkharod@wakemed.org.

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