This past week I have been on my A-game with cooking and packing meals and snacks for my time away from home so that I know I'm eating right. Personally, I don't really like to cook, so this is a pretty big feat for me and in the process I've realized there are some kitchen essentials that make it possible (and easy) for me to stay on track with my eating. So here is my list of tools for a healthy kitchen:
1. Pan with a lid
- it might sound silly, but I find cooking to be a lot easier when I can throw a bunch of ingredients into a pan, cover it, and let it simmer while I do other things like dishes or prepping snacks elsewhere in the kitchen. A lot of frying pans do not come with a lid, so for cooking up veggies or lentils, I recommend getting one. Not to mention you can use less oil and create more of a "steamed" atmosphere.
2. Storage containers
- this is huge. I live by myself so when I cook there is always more than one serving. Having a range of sizes and types of storage containers makes it easy to portion out the leftovers so I can just grab a serving on my way out the door later in the week. It's also important to make sure the lids secure tightly so you don't have to worry about getting food all over items in your bag or in the car should they tip over. I prefer glass and Target sells some great Pyrex ones that have really nice, secure lids.
- sounds simple and almost silly, but when it took me a while to actually get a pair of these in my kitchen. Tongs are great for pretty much everything because they give you a long reach when turning over pieces of tempeh in the frying pan or getting the roasted veggies off the cookie sheet in the oven. They are inexpensive and are handy in so many ways (tossing salad to get dressing all over the lettuce is another favorite use of mine), that they are definitely worth having around
4. Salad spinner
- admittedly, I do not own one of these, but my mother swears by it because she can't stand wet lettuce. And if you feel the same way, it is a must for your kitchen. The spinner allows you to clean and prep a lot of lettuce at once that you can then store in individual bags so it's chopped and ready to go when you want to make another salad. Prepping lettuce cuts my salad making time in half, and it's wonderful!
5. A good cutting board selection
- you may be saying to yourself, but Amanda, I have a cutting board. My question to you is, does your one cutting board make ALL of your cutting tasks easier? Mostly I use my bamboo cutting boards because they are sturdy and I prefer using renewable sources, but even them I have in multiple sizes based on how much cutting space I need. Flexible cutting boards are also great for cutting and immediately pouring into a pan or a pot for cooking. And if you eat meat, I would recommend having a separate meat cutting board, not that they can't be cleaned well enough for veggies later, but so you remember not to cut your veggies on it right after cutting up raw meat.
It's a short post today, but I hope you find this helpful! Try to make the time at least once a week to do some serious food prep and cooking so you have lots of healthy options to go to when you're late for work or going to be away from home all day. Sometimes convenience is the biggest reason we get off track with our eating, so supply your kitchen with the tools you need to fight back!
I'm Amanda K; lover of fitness, sweets, veggies, adventure, travel, and happiness.