By Team Best Life
Some kitchen setups support weight loss efforts while others sabotage them. (The one pictured above looks like a good start to us!) Luckily it’s easy to make over a less-than-healthy cooking and baking space. If you have the right gadgets on your counters and fill your fridge and cabinets with the right foods your kitchen can be a weight loss haven, says Best Life chef Sidra Forman. Here are her 11 healthy kitchen essentials:
1. A peeler
A good peeler opens up a whole world of fresh vegetables that might otherwise seem like a huge amount of labor to get through.
2. A salad spinner
Greens are low in calories and loaded with fiber, vitamins and phytonutrients, plant chemicals that protect against disease. A salad spinner makes it easier to incorporate them into your diet. Whether you’re cooking with them or creating a salad (like this tasty Peach Salad with Balsamic Dressing), you’ll want to start with clean and dry greens.
3. A roasting pan or heavy bottom skillet
Roasting is a cooking method that doesn’t require a ton of fat and brings out the flavors in all sorts of foods. If you do a lot of roasting, you’ll need a heavy bottom skillet. These allow you to cook over high heat—they distribute the heat nicely throughout the bottom of the pan—so food cooks properly without burning. A larger size pan is a good buy because you can use it for a lot of different foods.
4. A good knife
Believe it or not, a good knife will help you save time and energy and even bring out more of the flavors in healthy foods.
5. A blender
You can use it to make soups, whip up quick smoothies (like this Blueberry Kale Smoothie), or grind flax seeds.
6. A food processor
Don’t think you need one? Think again—a food processor can be used to make everything from sauces to dressing to marinades. You can use it to shred, cut or dice foods, too. It makes vegetable prep so much faster and easier.
1. Garlic, ginger, and onions
These fresh foods are savory recipe staples because they add a ton of flavor. They should keep for several weeks.
2. Herbs and spices
Whether fresh or dried, these are a low-calorie, low-sodium way to season and flavor your food.
3. Ground flaxseeds
These are a good source of plant-based omega-3s. They can be thrown into a lot of foods (added to salads, mixed into smoothies, or sprinkled over some some fruit and yogurt) to add nutrients and a nutty taste.
4. Fresh fruit
You can enjoy fruit in so many different ways—snack on an apple, mix berries into a smoothie or slice a banana to top your cereal. Loaded with nutrients, these low-calorie bites are a great way to stay healthy.
5. Easy-to-eat veggies
Keep vegetables that are easy to use or eat on hand. For instance, you can use crunchy, nutrient-packed romaine lettuce in salads, as a bed for entrées, as a wrap for sandwiches, or even a stand-alone snack. Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, even cucumber slices are also easy to prepare, use, and eat!