I (Kalie) remember the first time I walked through the aisles of a kitchen store to stock up on some must-have’s. I was in my 20’s and felt like a kid in a candy store, convinced I needed one of every gadget and gizmo in order to simplify my life. I sometimes wish I could go back to my younger self with the knowledge I have today, to share which gadgets actually make healthy cooking a breeze and which simply clutter up cabinets and collect dust.
What gadgets to buy (and which ones to skip).
If the idea of spending too much time in the kitchen is holding you back, or you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone who values healthy living, take a look at these gadgets that WILL simplify meal prep and inspire you to cook more good-for-you meals.
Overrated kitchen gadgets: What you DON'T need.
Looking back, we (Kalie and Pam) could have saved so much money, and time spent de-cluttering, if we would have skipped the gadgets that really didn’t help much on our wellness journeys. Here are some great guidelines as well as some of the items that have passed through our kitchens and didn’t prove themselves all that useful:
- Anything that you won’t use on a regular basis: Be honest with yourself: Will you put the item to work at least a few times a month? While there are so many gadgets that are great in theory, if you’re only using them once a year, they’re not worth the money or valuable cabinet space.
- Some of our “gotta-go” items: A microwaveable egg poacher; a bagel cutter; special slicers for apples, avocados, etc.; an egg separator; a citrus zester (a cheese grater will do just fine); a garlic press; meat claws; a pastry cutter and a stainless steel food scoop; just to name a few.
The best kitchen gadgets: What you ACTUALLY need.
This list will vary from woman to woman, but these items have consistently simplified meal prep, save time and energy, and are well worth the coin and cabinet space. All of these items serve as great gift ideas for birthdays, holidays or for a fellow mom struggling to juggle everything while aspiring to bring healthy into her home.
- Herb shears: Using fresh herbs to flavor your meals is awesome, but who has time to chop them all? Herb shears make flavoring your food much faster and easier.
- Citrus squeezer: So many recipes call for citrus juice, making this one of our most frequently used kitchen gadgets. If you’re making margaritas, lemon bars or anything else that calls for enough juicing to cause carpal tunnel, a citrus squeezer will cut your time in half and give your precious hands a rest.o
- Onion chopper: When creating the ideal utensil lineup to back you up in your culinary endeavors, the onion chopper is essential. This Chop Wizard is, without a doubt, THE most used (and enjoyed) single-use tool in both of our kitchens. It’s been a total game-changer for easy meal prep (for onions and peppers). It drastically cuts down on chop time and lessens your exposure to the chemical irritants in onions that make you cry. For easy cleaning, we HIGHLY recommend purchasing these Vidalia Chop Wizard EZ Cleaning Lift Tabs for your chopper.
- A salad spinner: If you’re a salad addict on a budget and prefer not to dish out the extra dough each week on pre-washed lettuce, a salad spinner will clean and dry your leafy greens with just a few spins.
- The Ove Glove: These flexible, heat-resistant gloves are the perfect replacement for oven mitts and potholders. They have a silicone non-slip grip which allows you to grill or get things in and out of the oven without worrying about dropping hot and heavy pans or utensils. We’ve been using them for years and don’t ever plan on looking back.
- Tortilla press: This is an absolute must if you love to make Mexican dishes as much as we do. It’s been a complete game-changer when making homemade tortillas, as it cuts the time (and effort) in half and allows us to eat healthy, homemade tortillas for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We use our tortilla press at least twice a month and make triple batches to freeze or keep for leftovers. We make and use them for quesadillas, breakfast burritos, tacos, wraps and as an easy way to scoop up the leftover sauce in any meal. Once you try making your own tortillas with this press, you’ll never go back to store-bought!
- An easy-to-clean electric griddle: Initially, we were a bit skeptical if an electric griddle was one of those must-haves, but now it’s something neither of us could live without. Pancakes, sunny-side-up eggs, burgers, quesadillas and homemade tortillas are just a few of the fabulous options you can make without the stress of evenly cooking food between several stovetop burners or on a grill.
- Immersion blender: This tool makes the cut because it allows you to easily puree soup directly in your pot or slow cooker. Say goodbye to ladling semi-cooled batches into your blender and then pouring each batch into a separate pot before finally combining and reheating. It also blends drinks without much effort and is a great way to beat eggs or other items.
- A high-powered blender: Healthy meals on the go just got simpler. A high-powered blender can be used to make shakes, smoothies, pancake batter, dips and almond milk.
- A toaster oven: Outside of baking sheet pan meals, we rarely use our full-size oven. The toaster oven is faster to preheat and saves a lot of electricity (who doesn’t love to save $?). Almost everything we toast, bake or broil is made in the toaster oven.
- A slow cooker: Yes, instant pots (and other trending models) have been the latest craze, but let’s take it back to the basics. There’s nothing that sets you up for quick, healthy success more than tossing a few ingredients in a slow cooker before heading off to work and coming home to a hands-off meal.
Yes, you’ll still have to spend some time planning and prepping (the slow cooker is the closest we’ve come to a personal chef), but with these few items you’ll spend less time in the kitchen and more time making memories with your friends and family. And, if you’re giving these as a gift, you’ll simplify their journey to healthy living too!
Let’s make healthy cooking a breeze — together!
Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget that makes healthy cooking a breeze? Share it in the comments section below!