Healthy Kitchen Essentials
Here is one of the most effective ways to stay on track with a diet: Cook at home. But there's more to a healthy kitchen than a well-stocked fr...
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Healthy Kitchen Essentials
One of the most effective ways to stay on track with a
diet is to cook at home. But there’s more to a healthy kitchen than a
well-stocked fridge and a pantry full of pre-portioned snacks. How you prepare and enjoy your
meals matters almost as much as what you’re
eating. The following are must-have items that will help turn your kitchen into
a dieter’s dream.
You can purchase a mini- or full-size processor for
chopping or shredding vegetables, fresh herbs, and nuts with ease. It will also
puree squash into silky smooth soups and let you sneak vitamin-rich
cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoes into sauces and spreads. Whip up
healthy hummus, pesto, and marinades, too. You can also try a handheld blender.
They work well for smoothies.
Any smart weight-loss program will call for plenty of
vegetables. A sharp knife will make all that cutting, chopping, and slicing
much easier. Make sure you have a chef's knife, a slicer, and a utility knife. You’ll
also need a sharpener. Dull knives make prep work far less enjoyable. Armed
with these, you can start your week off with containers full of red pepper
strips, celery stalks, and carrot sticks for easy snacking. You can also spend
15 minutes on Sunday afternoon chopping onions, carrots, and celery to keep on
hand as a healthy base for sauces, soups, and stews.
Smaller Plates and Glasses
Research published in the Journal
of the American Dietetic Association states
that the average plate size has increased 36 percent since the 1960s. The
bigger your plate, the more likely you are to load it up with food. Replace
your 12-inch dinner plates with 9-inch salad plates. Then fill them up with
high-fiber, low-calorie greens and legumes, plus smaller portions of rice or
pasta and meat.
When it comes to glasses, Cornell University’s Food and
Brand Lab researchers
found that individuals pour more of a drink into short, wide glasses versus
tall, narrow ones. Remember that when pouring your morning OJ or a Friday night
cocktail, and choose a taller, narrower glass.
Water is the exception. When hydrating with the clear
stuff, choose the biggest goblet you can find. Many people mistake thirst for
hunger. Staying hydrated can help you avoid needless snacking.
This kitschy tool lets you simultaneously wash and dry
your greens. Spinach and lettuce will last longer if stored dry, and these
gadgets make drying veggies much quicker.
Mini Zip-Close Bags
Use them to hold individual servings of nuts, dried
fruit, granola, cheese, and other easy-to-eat items.
Olive Oil Mister
An olive oil mister allows you to add just a spritz of
heart-healthy olive oil without overdosing on fat. Mist veggies prior to
roasting them, or add some flavor to salads. You should also keep your pantry
stocked with nonstick cooking spray, which allows you to whip up everything
from scrambled eggs to chicken breasts without butter or oil.
Use this tool to grate small amounts of flavorful cheese
into soups, salads, and more. It will also zest oranges, lemons, and limes.
This is the tool for you if you don’t like cooking but
love coming home to a house that smells delicious. Slow cookers can turn basic
ingredients like chopped vegetables, chicken, broth, and spices into low-fat
comfort food. If you have a hot, delicious meal waiting for you, you’ll be less
likely to open the fridge and mindlessly snack while wondering, “What should I
make for dinner?”
A fully stocked spice cabinet lets you add flavorful,
calorie-free punches to food. You’ll save on fat and sodium, too. Staples
- basil for pasta and veggies
- bay leaves for flavoring stocks,
sauces, and stews
- cayenne pepper (red pepper) for a spicy
- cinnamon for hot cereals such as
oatmeal or in baking
- crushed red pepper flakes to add heat to
spaghetti, soups, sauces, marinades, and meats
- cumin for chili or Asian, Latin American,
and Middle Eastern foods
- dill for fish or potatoes; mix with low-fat
yogurt or sour cream for a vegetable dip
- garlic powder for any recipe
that calls for garlic flavor
- oregano for tomato-based sauces as
well as stews and vegetables
- rosemary for lamb, chicken,
potatoes, stews, sauces, vegetables, and fresh breads
- rubbed sage for chicken,
turkey, stuffing, and pork chops
- thyme for hearty roasted or baked dishes as well
At Home in a Well-Stocked Kitchen
A successful weight-loss attempt
is easier when you are prepared. A well-equipped kitchen makes choosing healthy
foods easier. Without the proper tools and foods, you are far more likely to
choose something quick and often detrimental to your waistline. Learn to enjoy
your time in the kitchen and make eating right a lifelong habit.
Leslie Goldman, MPH
Medically Reviewed by:
Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA
Dec 3, 2010
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.