Few things are more satisfying than being able to prepare healthy, nutritious meals for yourself and your family. If you want to crank out healthy dishes like a pro, one of the first things you will need to do is equip your kitchen with the proper tools that will allow for quick and efficient food preparation. Below is a checklist of essential kitchen tools that will help make preparing healthy recipes as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
1. Measuring cups and spoons
There's a famous saying in the business world that "You cannot manage what you cannot measure," and the same thing holds true in the kitchen. Without a good set of measuring cups and spoons, it's easy for practically any recipe to get out of control. Graduated or nested measuring cups and spoons are definitely preferable, and if you want to take it up a notch, get one set for your wet ingredients and one set for your dry ingredients. Measuring cups that are made for wet ingredients typically add a little space at the top (past the highest measurement mark) to prevent spills, as well as a spout for pouring.
2. A food scale
A food scale is a great way to keep track of your portions, so that you won't have to guesstimate when it comes to determining how much of a certain food you should use in a recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for 8 ounces of salmon or a half-pound of beef, you'll be able to see the specific weight of the ingredient in a flash. This will help improve your accuracy, minimize waste and give you a better idea of portion size and the nutritional value of your food.
3. A high-quality knife set
If you want to make food preparation a real drag, try using a set of dull knives. If you find yourself hacking away at your ingredients, it's probably time to invest in a high-quality set of sharp knives. Not only will this make all of your chopping, slicing, carving and dicing duties a lot easier, but it will be safer as well.
4. A good pair of cutting boards
The reason why you should have at least two is because you want to keep the cutting board for your meats separate from the one you use for your fruits and vegetables. This will greatly lower the risk of cross-contamination and food-borne illnesses. Even with separate cutting boards, go the extra step by thoroughly cleaning them after each use. As for the type of material, wood is favorable over plastic, because when plastic cutting boards get scratched up, it's possible for bacteria to form in those small crevices on the board.
5. A well-stocked spice rack
Herbs and spices are often the most overlooked aspect of food preparation, yet they can make all the difference in how good your food tastes. Experienced chefs understand that herbs and spices are an excellent way to add a whole new dimension of flavor to your dishes without having to pile on not-so-nutritional additives. Make sure to stock up on spices and herbs such as garlic, onion powder, cumin, dill and paprika, and don't forget to use olive oil as a healthy substitute for butter.
6. A meat thermometer
If you want to ensure that the meat you cook is safe to eat, get a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the meat. This definitely beats guesswork or eyeballing it. Most meats should reach a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit before they're safe for consumption.
7. A hand chopper
Hand choppers are ultra-convenient tools to use for chopping all kinds of veggies such as onions, peppers, carrots, cucumbers and other healthy ingredients for your meals. They save you tons of time and, in the case of onions, tons of tears.
8. A non-stick frying/sautee pan
Having non-stick cookware in your kitchen is an excellent way to cut down on your fat intake. Keep in mind that non-stick surfaces require no oil, which is ideal when you're looking to use less butter and other fat-heavy cooking oils in your dishes. Not only will a good non-stick frying pan help you to prepare meals that contain less fat, but they're much easier to clean as well.
As you can see, outfitting your kitchen for prepping quick, healthy and wholesome meals doesn't require any major overhauls. The list above will serve as an excellent guide to give you the proper kitchen tools for preparing healthy meals.