When you’re cooking up a complicated meal, it's easy to forget about the little things, like how exactly you're going to get all the dirt off those organic carrots. But the right kitchen gadgets can make your life a whole like easier—and your food a whole lot healthier. And no, we're not talking about the latest infomercial sensation. At less than 10 bucks a pop, these small-but-mighty tools will help you tackle your next endeavor in the kitchen.
This one is life-changing. You place it in a pot with about an inch or so of water and turn your stove on high. Once the water is boiling, throw in all kinds of veggies—broccoli, string beans, carrots, zucchini—whatever you’re feeling. It’s quick, easy, and one of the healthiest ways to cook up your produce and bulk up your meals without added calories. What’s more, recent research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that steaming broccoli for up to five minutes, instead of boiling or microwaving it, was the best way to release its cancer-fighting benefits. (Chefmate Stainless Steel, target.com)
You should always clean your produce before eating it, and just rinsing it under your sink for a few seconds won’t necessarily cut it. Especially if you don’t buy organic, a veggie scrubber is a good tool to have nearby. The Environmental Working Group has put together a list of produce to watch out for called “The Dirty Dozen.” The fruits and veggies on this list have been found to have higher traces of pesticides and are recommended to buy organic. If you choose not to go organic, really go to town on your potatoes, guys; no one wants a dirt-ridden, potentially pesticide-covered piece of food on their plate. (Natural Home Bamboo Veggie Brush, target.com)
Since vegetables should be a part of almost every meal and ideally incorporated into your snacks throughout the day, it’s a good idea to keep a veggie peeler close by. For things like potatoes, cucumbers, or even ginger, a veggie peeler will make your kitchen prep a lot swifter. (OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler, amazon.com)
Trying to maneuver a flawless flip of your chicken cutlet or turkey burger on the skillet is quite a task if you’re using just a regular old fork. Do yourself a favor and minimize your chance of oil splatter (or embarrassment) by getting a pair of tongs. They’re cheap and they allow you to cook your meats more easily on the stove. These will especially come in handy during grilling season. (Update International Stainless Steel Tongs, amazon.com)
Not everyone has the luxury of having a fancy juicer in their home, which is where this handy little gadget comes into play. You’re limited to citrus fruits with it, but it’s still a great way to get a little more fresh juice into your life and avoid sugar-laden store-bought versions. Consuming 100% OJ each day can enhance cardiovascular health, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Whether you want some fresh OJ or grapefruit juice in the morning or a little lemon or lime juice to throw into smoothies or water, a stainless-steel hand juicer is a great product for the price. (StainlessLUX 73601 Brilliant Stainless Steel Juicer, amazon.com)
Homemade soups and sauces are some of the healthiest things you can cook up in the kitchen. Making a big batch at the beginning of the week is a great way to save time with meals during the week when work or other commitments suck up all your time. However, doling out these delicious dishes sans ladle is a bit tricky and just plain inefficient. Make sure you’ve got one—no excuses. (Chefs Pal 8oz Stainless Steel, amazon.com)
It’s hard to control portions when you're drizzling oil over your dishes or into your frying pan. Healthy oils like olive oil are very nutritionally beneficial because they contain components that fight against heart disease, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, but they can also be calorie bombs and hold you back from your weight-loss goals if not used in moderation. An oil mister will still give you the benefits and flavor of the oil while keeping portions in check. (Misto Gourmet Olive Oil Sprayer, worldmarket.com)