As well as watching what you eat and how you cook it there are all sorts of utensils and gadgets to help with a healthy diet. Sometimes it might seem really obvious, others not so. Here’s a list of the key gadgets every healthy kitchen needs.
Pureeing, mixing, whisking and blending are not easy jobs done by hand so a stick blender or a jug blender is a must, both would be even better. These are great for making soups, smoothies, juice blends, vegetable purées and creamy desserts.
Steaming is the healthiest way to cook vegetables and fish. Electric steamers are reasonably priced and if you buy a multi layer one you can also economise on energy usage because you can cook a whole meal at the same time. Chinese bamboo steamers work just as well for smaller amounts of food and there are also microwave steamers available.
Don’t think that just because you don’t eat a lot of gravy you have no use for this item. Yes, it is perfect for removing the fat from the gravy that you have made with the meat pan juices, but you can also use it for casseroles and stews; most slow cook recipes suggest that you brown the meat first in olive oil and even though this oil is the best one to eat if you remove it without losing the flavour of the dish then why not? Simply make your stew or casserole then strain it to remove all the liquid. Put the liquid in the separator and once the fat reservoir has been created return the now fat free liquid to your meat and vegetables.
If you are going to invest in one really good frying pan, make sure it is non-stick. Non-stick means you can dry fry and roast and fry without oil. If you look after your pan properly by not using metal utensils when cooking or scourers when cleaning, it should last you for a good long time.
If you have a juicer the amount of smoothies and juice blends that you can concoct is endless. It also means you can have fresh lemon and lime juice on hand when recipes call for it meaning you don’t have to have those bottles of it stuck in the cupboard and also, can anything really beat the taste of chilled freshly squeezed orange juice?
If you are following a calorie counting or low-fat diet adding up fat grams or fat units you have to weigh your food. Just guessing is not good enough. The scales are also really important when a low-fat recipe calls for a handful or a sprinkling of something you know is really high fat or high in calories. It is added to the recipe for a specific flavour or finish but in small quantities because it doesn’t really belong in a healthy dish. Check the calorie count of the ingredient and work out how much you can realistically add then weigh out that quantity. Of course, if your budget stretches to it you can invest in one of those nutritional electronic scales that calculates the calories, fat, carbohydrate, sugar and et al for you.
Having one of these might seem a luxury if you have a blender and a juicer but it really depends on how many smoothies you include in your diet. Smoothies and juice blends are a great part of any low fat or low-calorie diet because they are easy to make, can be eaten/drunk any time of day and the varieties are endless.
For making cakes and tray bakes that reduce the amount of fat needed you need bake ware made from silicone. Unlike the metal trays, silicone does not require all that extra butter and flour around the sides to make sure whatever you’ve cooked turns out easily.
If you eat a lot of fish (which of course you should because it’s low fat and highly nutritious) one tasty way of cooking it is en papillote (paper parcel). As the fish cooks in its own steam and juices there’s no need for butter or oil – usually just a bit of liquid to help the steaming process. Using non-stick parchment means you don’t end up trying to peel your fish from where it’s stuck to the paper. Non-stick parchment paper has tons of other uses than just for wrapping fish!
One of the cheapest ways of cutting down on fat is to use a spray rather than tip oil from a bottle. Oil isn’t used for flavour in frying; it is used to create the crust and to protect food from being burnt by direct heat. Spraying the surface of a pan is as efficient as pouring in a few tablespoons of oil. Use grape seed oil in your sprayer as this copes really well with very high temperatures.
Having these gadgets on hand opens the door to countless low fat, calorie counted recipes.
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