You’re conscious of your family’s health, right? You stock your kitchen with healthy ingredients and recipes. But are your kitchen utensils and appliances up to speed? Here I cover some healthy kitchen essentials, options in preparing nourishing meals fast and easy.
You’ll agree that having the right foods and ingredients is a must for healthy eating.
Well, so too is fitting out your kitchen for healthy eating. Having the essentials in this area is worth the effort.
What Every Healthy Kitchen Should Have
If your home kitchen is fitted out with healthy options for meal preparation, your family knows they’re getting wholeness and nourishment when they eat. And, you can rest confidently knowing you provide this.
No doubt, having the right gear for healthy meal preparation starts with the cookware – see my article on healthy cookware choices. But, it also includes certain utensils and appliances to make life easier, food preparation safer, and your meals healthier.
Having the right tools or appliances in your home kitchen enables you to prepare healthy meals faster and easier.
1 A Juicer / Juice Extractor
If you, or someone in your family, like to start the day with a morning detox juice or a power-up smoothie, a juicer is essential.
Having a juicer, or juice extractor, in your home kitchen has benefits.
For one, you control the ingredients in your morning juice or smoothie, meaning you enjoy a healthy drink without added sugar or preservatives and you can custom the flavoring as you desire.
Another reason to rank a juicer as a kitchen essential for healthy meal preparation is that you can easily transform a large
Add protein mix for a balanced meal or simply enjoy a number of delicious juices or smoothies made of various fruits or veggies, giving you goodness in a glass.
A healthy mix like this serves as a meal on the go or as a refreshing, revitalizing drink.
So, a valued item in the health-conscious kitchen is a juicer. Why? Because a juicer makes a nutritious meal you can take on the go. It is an attractive and efficient way to ‘eat your greens’ or take in nutrition.
As long as the juicer is cleaned carefully and on a regular basis, this piece of equipment is an excellent option for any health conscious kitchen.
You have a few options in fitting out your kitchen for juice or smoothie making. You could opt for a juice extractor, a good quality blender, a bullet type juicer, or a combination of these. Or you can choose an all-in-one economical buy, like this one at Amazon.
At our place, we have a juice extractor for juicing hard vegetables such as carrots and beets, and a blender for making smoothies and juices from soft fruit and vegetables, yoghurt, etc. Both appliances have quality fittings of stainless steel and decent wattages.
Panasonic juice extractors are Japanese made. I’ve had mine for over a decade and it is still going strong. Though more expensive than others on the market, it’s been a great investment because I have not had to replace it. You’ll find the latest Panasonic model at Amazon – See details.
2 Bamboo Cutting Boards
A good set of cutting boards is essential.
Why have a set of boards? While it may seem easy to stick to one cutting board for all foods that need to be prepped, it’s not the best for health reasons.
I use separate boards for raw meat, vegetables, cheese, etc. to avoid cross-contamination, to prevent the spread of germs and contaminating flavors.
Also, large-sized cutting boards, I find, are best for slicing and cutting because they allow me room to maneuver the cutting implements without chance of injury.
For the health conscious kitchen, I recommend you invest in bamboo boards, or sealed wooden boards, rather than plastic ones, since weathered plastic cutting boards with deep cuts can hold bacteria that may cause food poisoning. 1
Bamboo cutting boards are less porous and resist scarring.1 Timber boards are similar if maintained by sealing with a light coating of grapeseed oil on occasion. I actually use both, maintaining my wooden boards with an occasional oil.
3 Bamboo Cooking Utensils
Ladles, spatulas, and similar cooking utensils that are durable and stain and odor resistant minimize the transfer of unwanted flavors and other contaminants during cooking.
Maintaining the integrity of cookware surfaces to avoid exposure of your food to aluminum base materials is also important.
Bamboo is a good choice of material in cooking utensils for these reasons. Silicone offers another option.
Bamboo utensils, similar to silicone, can be used on non-stick cooking surfaces without worry of scratching or marking the area in contact with the food.
Since they have a smooth finish, bamboo and silicone utensils are easy to clean and evade the build-up of grime and bacteria that cause potential health concerns.
4 Sharp Knives
A set of sharp knives will serve you well when it comes to slicing and chopping foods for healthy meals. Having the right knife for the job will make meal preparation enjoyable.
The slicing of vegetables is clean and easy with a sharp knife – precision slicing is best with a ceramic knife – see my guide to buying ceramic knives.
5 Silicone Baking Mat
If you like to roast vegetables, there’s no need to use oils or fats or line your bakeware with foil.
You can turn any pan into a nonstick surface with a silicone baking mat.
The bonus is the easy cleanup and it is reusable.
Silicone appears to be safe. It is an inert material – nothing used in its manufacture will leach into foods.Andrew Weil, M.D.2
6 Well-Stocked Spice Rack
A well-stocked spice rack is key to great tasting food and added nutrition.
Using the right spices makes it easy for cooks to season their food without relying on table salt, which some people need to avoid for health reasons.
While on the subject of spices, let’s look at cooking oils.
Healthy Cooking Oils
It is also important to select cooking oils that are healthy and meet your cooking style.
By choosing the right oil, you retain the goodness of the cooked food. This means you avoid the by-products (free fatty acids, secondary products of oxidation, polar compounds) that form when heating passes the smoke point and which taint the flavor and wholeness of your food.
Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 331 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it’s a low to medium heat cooking oil.
It is a healthy choice for most cooking and for dressings.
But, if you are wanting an oil for searing or other high-heat cooking, look for ones with high smoke points. My article on cooking oils lists the smoke points in degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius for popular cooking oils.
Oils, such as bran, avocado, and coconut, have high smoke points. Knowing which oil to use for which type of cooking is key.
7 Kitchen Scales
It’s a good idea to use a kitchen food scale to measure out amounts required in recipes. You’re likely to get the best taste results that way.
In terms of health, kitchen scales are essential if you are counting calories or limiting certain foods in your diet (e.g. fat, sugar).
Today’s digital kitchen scales are slimline, can distinguish the smallest discrepancy in weight, and cover all basic measuring units.
Digital kitchen scales available online at Amazon
8 Measuring Cups And Spoons
A set of measuring cups and spoons is essential in any kitchen.
From spoonfuls to cupfuls, the set provides a fast and easy way to measure out the required amount of powders and liquids.
Like kitchen scales, a set of measuring cups and spoons is essential for sticking to the recipe or watching your dietary needs. The different sizes will help keep you on track with healthy amounts of seasoning, sauces, and other ingredients.
9 Non-Toxic Cleaners
A kitchen essential for healthy cooking and eating are non-toxic cleaners.
While some people reach for chemicals in the kitchen, savvy chefs who want to keep their kitchens as safe and clean as possible know that non-toxic cleaners are a much better choice.
These are just as powerful as cleaners with chemicals but won’t leave behind any unhealthy or dangerous residue.
10 Non-Abrasive Scourers
In addition to non-toxic cleaners that can be easily used on the counter, the stove, and in the microwave, it’s a good idea to have non-abrasive scourers on hand for cleaning up.
These scourers will easily clean equipment, pots, and pans but won’t scratch or damage the surface.
The problem with traditional scourers is that they can easily scratch the surface of whatever they are cleaning. While this may not seem to be a big deal, these grooves and scratches can easily become places for bacteria and other germs to hide.
When the grooves get deeper and harder to clean, then it is very common for home cooks to accidentally spread germs without meaning to.
This is especially so with cutting boards, which is why having designated boards for specific uses is so very important.
11 A Timer
A timer to ensure you adhere to recipe cooking times is essential for retaining the nutritional value of food.
While the overcooking of foods such as vegetables destroys valuable nutrients, undercooking also raises concerns for the health conscious. Chicken for example is one type of food that requires thorough cooking.
Most modern appliances come with a timer.
12 Meat Thermometer
You’ll want thorough cooking of meats to avoid illnesses associated with improperly cooked food.
For safety in cooking meats, consider a meat thermometer to monitor meat temperatures. You’d want this when using a grill.
A Healthy Kitchen is Key to Healthy Eating
While it may seem daunting to choose the right tools and equipment for a healthy kitchen, there are so many benefits of healthy eating that it’s important to take time to choose the right utensils and tools.
The tools on this kitchen essentials list are specifically chosen to help families make the most of every meal and to ensure that every bite works to nourish the body without causing any harmful side effects.
Healthy Eating Essentials
What would you like to see added to this list for healthy eating?