Here are my suggestions for the top kitchen tools to optimize your health:
A Blender – A counter top blender with a strong motor is a must for every healthy kitchen. Blenders are the most effective kitchen tool for making creamy protein shakes, vegetable drinks, mixing salad dressings or soup broths. When picking out a blender, shop wisely.
Look for a heavy glass tapered jar blender that will last over time in the dishwasher.
It is also important to choose a blender with the right voltage. The more you plan on using your blender, the higher the wattage should be to handle the job. Be sure to buy a large enough blender to suit your kitchen needs. That said, if you are storing your blender on your counter, you may want to choose a colour (red or stainless steel, for example) that matches your kitchen and is not a continual eyesore.
Lastly, take apart your blender after each use and clean thoroughly with hot water or run it through the dish washer. Unwanted old food particles can settle in the bottom of the blender, causing the unit to overheat and potentially become a health hazard.
A good set of kitchen knives – When it comes to kitchen knives, there are really only a few that are must-haves. If I were to name the top three knives for a healthy kitchen they would be;
• A paring knife with a firm, 3- to 4-inch blade for peeling vegetables and fruits
• A French knife (also called chef’s knife) has a broad tapered shape and a fine edge. It is the ideal knife for chopping vegetables
• An 8-inch serrated knife - or longer - for slicing soft vegetables such as tomatoes and slicing breads.
A durable cutting board – There has been great discussion as to which type of cutting board is the safest to use and is less likely to provide a breeding ground for bacteria. In truth, if not cleaned and used properly, any kind of board can become a vehicle for contamination. The cutting board options currently on the market are wooden boards, Corian, plastic or glass board. Regardless of the type of board you choose to purchase, all types should be cleaned with hot soapy water after each use. If your board becomes cracked and overly porous, it is time for a new one!
Page 1 of 2 - Read page 2 for two more great kitchen tools!
A food journal/notebook – Current research shows that keeping a daily food journal actually helps with weight loss and health. According to a study soon to be published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, people who kept no daily diary lost an average of four kilograms, while those who kept a dairy six or more days per week lost an average of eight kilograms. A food journal and/or notebook will help you to record what you have eaten on a specific day, the groceries you need to buy and recipes you may want to make. Keep this journal handy so it is easy to grab while you are working in the kitchen.
A steamer or steaming basket – Investing in a kitchen steamer or a steaming basket that goes over a stove top pot is one sure way to preserve the colour, texture and taste of your vegetables. Most importantly, steaming retains the most nutrients in comparison to any other cooking method, and is by far the healthiest method to choose. When steaming, try to cut vegetables into the same size so they steam evenly. Examples of steaming times for your vegetables include:
|Asparagus, thin spears |
|3 to 4 minutes |
5 to 6 minutes
|Broccoli, florets |
|4 to 5 minutes |
5 to 6 minutes
|Brussels Sprouts||7 to 11 minutes|
|Carrots, cut 1/4-inch thick||6 to 8 minutes|
|Cauliflower, head |
|12 to 15 minutes |
4 to 6 minutes
|Corn on the cob||5 minutes|
|Green beans||4 to 5 minutes|
|Kale||4 to 5 minutes|
|Potatoes, new |
|12 minutes |
|Spinach||4 to 5 minutes|
|Sweet potatoes, whole |
|40 to 50 minutes |
12 to 15 minutes
Investing in the above tools is one of the most effective methods to make healthy food preparation easy and enjoyable. Some fun new kitchen tools are also the best way to give yourself a quick health boost. Bon appetite!
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Dr. Joey Shulman DC, registered nutritionist is the author of the best selling book The Last 15 – A Weight Loss Breakthrough. For more information, please visit www.drjoey.com.