Simple Kitchen Gadgets Key to Healthier Cooking


This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

There are a few cooking gadgets in my kitchen I cannot live without. They make healthier cooking easier, faster, and in some cases, safer. And best of all, they are low in cost. Stocking your kitchen with these handy gadgets and small appliances – and learning how to use them – is a great way to improve the quality of your diet without having to go to cooking school!


Cooking Gadgets – Meat Thermometer: Animal protein is the most costly thing on your shopping list, so don’t take any chances ruining your steaks, chops, burgers, and roasts by over or under cooking. Plus these meats carry the risk of food poisoning if not cooked to the proper temperature, so take the time to check the temperature to get it right every time.


Cooking Gadgets – Condiment Squeeze Bottles: You can find these during barbecue season or clean and refill the plastic squeeze bottles many condiments come in. They make portion control easier, save time since you don’t have to dirty a knife to use them and are more sanitary since utensils aren’t being dipped into them. I use mine to hold my “flavored” mayonnaise collection, including horseradish and wasabi mayonnaise, and have one for sour cream.


Cooking Gadgets – Rotary Cheese Grater: Nothing can replace of the taste and aroma of freshly grated aged cheese, and fortunately, a little bit goes a long way. By cutting the cheese into one ounce chunks you can grate it as needed and keep the quantity you use under control.


Cooking Gadgets – Food Processor: I consider this appliance my personal “prep cook.” It makes crumbs out of stale bread, shreds cabbage, chops nuts, dices mushrooms, blends pastry dough and so much more. Best of all, the time I save chopping far exceeds the time it takes to clean it.


Cooking Gadgets – Olive Oil Sprayer: Even though olive oil counts as one of the “healthy fats,” we still have to control the amount we use. By spraying it on food or pans you can get the benefits without having to worry about over pouring.


Cooking Gadgets – Pepper Mills: The key to using less salt in your food is to punch up the flavor with fresh ingredients and pungent seasoning. Nothing does that better than a pepper mill. But don’t stop with just one. Keep one for black pepper, one for green and one for assorted peppers.


Cooking Gadgets – Pressure Cooker: Healthy foods don’t necessarily cost more, but they do take more time to cook. You can reduce your time in the kitchen and still have great food by overcoming your fear of pressure cooking. This appliance produces fast and predictable results when making dried beans, barley, brown rice, whole chicken, soups, stews and many other dishes that typically take several hours.


Cooking Gadgets – Citrus Juicer: When a recipe calls for the juice of a lemon or lime, nothing beats the flavor of fresh. If you don’t always have fresh citrus on hand, buy it when it’s on sale, cut in half and freeze, then just remove and “twist” out the juice when needed.


Cooking Gadgets – Immersion Blender: This easy to clean and store gadget can go from making a smoothie to pureeing soup to mashing potatoes. I love the fact it goes into the pot or bowl rather than having to transfer food into a blender. Best suited for those small quantities you want to whip uop fast.


Cooking Gadgets – Electric Kettle: As a tea drinker, this kettle is in demand in my kitchen all day. But it’s not just for tea. You can boil a quart of water faster here than in a pot on the stove top or in the microwave. I use any leftover water in the kettle to sterilize the kitchen sponge and sink drains.

family riding bicycles together

Are You Making Tradeoffs for a Healthier Lifestyle?

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the post here.


How do you keep track of what you and the rest of your family have to do each day? I know plenty of households that use a common wall calendar with big boxes for each day so all of their appointments and activities can be recorded. Other families I know share their daily schedules with one another on smart phones so they always know who’s going where, and when.

Still, it seems no matter how we do it, there are never enough hours in the day for all we have to do. And when we’re all so busy, how can you make time for a healthier lifestyle?

Must We Choose Between Cooking vs Working Out?

Results of a study presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America suggest many of us must make concessions when it comes to healthy behaviors. Using U.S. Census data from more than 112, 000 American adults, researchers at Ohio State University analyzed how much time was spend on meal preparation and exercise in a single day

What they found was, on average, we’re spending less than an hour a day combined for these time-consuming healthy behaviors and if we try to do them both in the same day we have to choose between one of the other.

Does that sound true for you?

It must be pointed out that the Census data only captures one day’s worth of activity, so the researchers could not tell if people cooked one day and exercised the next.

Making Time for a Healthier Lifestyle

I don’t think good nutrition and fitness have to be exclusive, no matter how jam-packed my calendar is. It all comes down to time management. Here’s what I have learned works:

Blocked out the time each day to make breakfast, pack lunches and cook dinner

Become more efficient at getting nutritious meals on the table fast by using quick cooking ideas that take the toil out of food preparation

Remove some items from the schedule, like watching every episode of the latest BBC series in one night, if it takes time away from the healthy behaviors you’re trying to establish

While everyone complains about how hard it is to get enough exercise, it is actually easier than eating right. All you really have to do is get up and move around more. In fact, standing instead of sitting is even beneficial! In addition to the dozens of things you can do standing, you can also incorporate 10 minute bursts of activity throughout your day without making a trip to the gym.

The key is to be open to the opportunity. We can all do a better job of pushing those shopping carts back to the corral in the parking lot. How about walking to the school to meet your child so you can walk home together? I loved marching in place while waiting to pick up my teen from marching band practice.

Best of all, when we make good nutrition and physical activity a family affair, we only need to reserve one time slot on the calendar!

Other great ways to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle:

  • Quick Healthy Meals Begin with Pasta
  • Need Dinner Menu Ideas? Soup Makes Quick Easy Meals
  • Want a Quick Grilled Cheese Sandwich? Just Load Up Your Freezer
  • What To Do With Leftover Food? Create Makeover Meals