Cooking healthy meals can be easy when you have the right tools! Set yourself up for success with these 10 surprisingly affordable kitchen tools and gadgets recommended most often by food bloggers.
Can you imagine how difficult it would be to paint a house without a paint brush? It would be almost impossible, which is why most people consider a paint brush to be an absolute necessity for painting. Now think about how much easier painting becomes with a roller, paint tray and tape. If you have a really large area to paint, it would be even easier with a paint sprayer, right?
This blog isn’t about painting houses, so yes, I’m talking in analogies to try to make a point. The tools you have in your kitchen can determine so much about how you live, from the types of meals you can prepare to how often you cook and how many people you can feed. All of those things can impact everything from your social life to your health, which can then effect your finances and quality of life. Something as simple as stocking your kitchen with the right tools can literally impact almost every aspect of your life!
Of course, I started this blog to help you follow a healthy and delicious lifestyle, so in this post, I’m going to share the kitchen tools that are as important to cooking healthy meals as a paint brush, roller and paint tray are to painting. These tools make the task of preparing healthy meals for yourself and your loved ones easier and more affordable, which often makes sticking to a healthy diet possible.
I’ve included both the tools I rely on and those that other food bloggers who specialize in healthy recipes recommend. Food bloggers cook A LOT, so we’re all about tools that make our job easier!
If you are searching for the perfect gift for the cook in your life or need a gift for someone who is trying to get healthy, search no more. This list will have something he or she will love.
Links to products are included below for your convenience. Some of them are affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you purchase a product through one of my links. Don’t worry, it doesn’t change the price you pay. Thank you for supporting Taste Abounds!
#1 – a Good Quality Chef Knife
Healthy meals utilize a lot of sliced, chopped and minced ingredients. Often they’re available pre-cut, such as jars of minced garlic, spiral sliced squash “noodles”, riced cauliflower and fresh and frozen vegetables. While these are certainly helpful in a bind, relying on them exclusively can really add up.
Investing in a good quality chef knife will help you save money and expand your cooking abilities by being able to safely slice, chop, and mince your own ingredients. Yes, I said safely. Did you know that cutting vegetables with a dull knife is actually more dangerous than cutting with a sharp knife? It’s true! A sharp knife cuts when and where its supposed to cut, whereas a dull knife does not. Try to slice a tomato with a butter knife, if you don’t believe me. Dull knives are less predictable, and when you’re trying to cut something, the more predictable, the better!
Not only do you need a sharp knife, your knife also has to be sturdy. The most sturdy knives are those forged from a single piece of steel that runs the entire length of the knife and is made from high quality stainless steel (source). An ergonomic handle is also important, so you can hold the knife securely. Thankfully, knives that fit these criteria are available for any budget.
I’ve owned J.A. Henkels knives for almost 10 years now. They are extremely durable, high quality knives that come at a great price and are easy to sharpen. My favorite is their 7″ hollow edge santoku knife and 8″ chef knife, both of which you can see below. They also come in a set, for those who are looking to replace an entire set or establish a kitchen.
If your budget is smaller, fear not, Chicago Cutlery offers a less expensive alternative. It fits all of the criteria above, plus the blade is made from high carbon stainless steel, which some chefs prefer. A good friend mine owns a Chicago Cutlery santoku knife and loves it!
#2 Deep Mixing Bowls with High Sides
Mixing bowls with high sides are another essential kitchen tool. It might not be one of the first things you think of, but trust me, they make it so much easier to mix ingredients without making a mess! Whether you’re tossing a salad or using beaters to mix up a batter, those high sides keep the ingredients in the bowl instead of all over your kitchen.
You have lots of choices when selecting mixing bowls. Many come with lids and a non-slip silicone bottom, and some even come with handles or interchangeable blades for grating and slicing directly into the bowls.
#3 Food Processor and Blender
If you or the cook in your life is striving to prepare and eat healthy meals, a food processor and blender will also be essential. Blenders can be used to make everything from smoothies to sauces, and food processors can make salad dressing and grind or chop ingredients.
One of my favorite kitchen tools is my Ninja master Prep. One motor fits onto both a small food processor and a blender, so you get two for the price of one. The blender does a great job of breaking up ice, frozen fruit and leafy greens to make smoothies, and I use the food processor all the time to grind nuts and seeds into flours and make salad dressing. I’ve used my Ninja Master Prep at least three times a week over the past 5 years and it’s still going strong, which is pretty impressive for a gadget that cost me $40!
If a larger food processor and standalone blender is what you’re after, check out the BlendTec blender, Vitamix and Cuisenart 14 cup food processor. Lindsey of All the Nourishing Things, and Tessa the Domestic Diva both recommend the BlendTec, and Tessa the Domestic Diva recommends the Cuisenart 14 cup Food Processor.
#4 3Haus Mandolin
I only recently added a mandolin to my collection, and I’ve already found it so useful that I can’t believe it didn’t get one sooner! The 3Haus Mandolin allows you to quickly and easily slice vegetables at a thickness of your choosing from 1mm to 9mm, and then with the turn of a knob, you can change to one of two different “julienne” sizes (4.5mm and 9mm). If you don’t have crazy cool knife skills (which I admittedly do not), a mandolin can save you a lot of time, and if you’re afraid of cutting yourself, this mandolin will really come in handy since it comes with a finger guard to protect your fingers. It also folds compactly so it doesn’t take up much room and it’s super easy to clean. As cool as this gadget is, it only cost $22!
#5 Box Grater & Microplane
Chances are you’ll need to shred zucchini, carrots or cheese at some point while preparing a healthy meal, and that’s where a box grater comes in handy. Most have a silicone bottom to keep it in place as well as different sized grating boards or slicing options on each side. This inexpensive tool really is essential for grating ingredients!
If you ever plan to make a recipe that involves lemon or lime zest, you’ll also need a microplane. They’re also inexpensive, as you can see below. Jean of What Great Grandma Ate, Linda of The Organic Kitchen &Cook with me Darling, Tessa the Domestic Diva, Vanessa of A Cheerful Kitchen, and Cynthia of What a Girl Eats all recommend a microplane as one of the tools they rely on to prepare healthy meals.
#6 Silicone Muffin and Bread Pan
Given how safe and resistant to sticking they are, silicone pans may be the best kitchen inventions yet. Not only do I love my silicone pans, Yang of Yang’s Nourishing Kitchen loves hers, as well! If you’re planning to make mini quiches or egg muffins in a muffin pan, a silicone muffin pan is a must. Yes, I know from experience. The first and only time I made mini quiches in my metal muffin pan, I had to throw it out because no amount of scrubbing would get it clean.
A bread pan is great not just for making bread, but also meat loaf. Whatever you’re making, cleanup will be easier if you make it in a silicone pan instead of a metal pan!
#7 Garlic Press
A lot of recipes call for fresh minced garlic. Garlic adds fantastic flavor to dishes from a wide variety of cuisines, plus it’s great for you! Mincing garlic can be a challenge, though. While buying minced garlic in a jar does allow you to bypass the process of mincing garlic, some flavor and health benefits can be lost.
A good garlic press is another one of those gadgets that I love so much I wonder why I didn’t buy one sooner. They don’t cost much, but they make the process of mincing fresh garlic quick and easy!
I have the OXO Good Grips Garlic Press and love it, but I’ve also shown some other highly-rated garlic presses sold on Amazon, such as the ORBLUE garlic press recommended by Jean, the recipe developer and nutrition writer at What Great Grandma Ate.
#8 Spiral Slicer a.k.a. Spiralizer
More and more healthy recipes are calling for spiral sliced vegetables in place of noodles and pasta. Not only does it cut down on calories and carbs, but it helps people eat more vegetables.
While there are some fancy spiralizers out there, a spiral slicer doesn’t have to be fancy. I’ve owned two simple, handheld spiralizers, the original Veggetti and the Spiralife. Both spiralized zucchini well, but between the two, I prefer the Spiralife.
Judy of Savoring Today loves her OXO Good Grips Handheld Spiralizer, and some people prefer the countertop models, like Renee The Health Nut Mama. Whatever you or the cook in your life prefers, you can get a spiral slicer for less than $30.
#9 Immersion Blender
Several of my fellow food bloggers say their immersion blender makes the job of cooking healthy meals easier, including Judy of Savoring Today, Renee The Health Nut Mama and Vanessa of A Cheerful Kitchen. An immersion blender can blend sauces and soups quickly and easily, eliminating the need to transfer it to a blender. The preferred brand is Braun, although there are a lot to choose from.
#10 Instant Pot (6 and 8 qt)
Instant Pot recipes are all the rage right now, and for good reason. Instead of hours, it only takes minutes to prepare a healthy meal, and one Instant Pot can do so many things, from slow cook to pressure cook, make yogurt and cook rice!
Jean of What Great Grandma Ate, Lindsey of All the Nourishing Things, Tessa the Domestic Diva, Vanessa of A Cheerful Kitchen, Renee The Health Nut Mama and Yang of Yang’s Nourishing Kitchen all rave about their Instant Pots, and Emily of Recipes to Nourish has even authored a cookbook called The Art of Great Cooking with your Instant Pot.
Instant Pots are available in two sizes, 6 quart and 8 quart, and with a varying number of functions. Some of the options are shown below.
All of the kitchen tools mentioned above are highly recommended by me and several other food bloggers that specialize in healthy recipes. We all cook a lot and have for years, so we know the tools that make cooking healthy meals easier!
If you or the cook in your life is trying to switch and stick to a healthy lifestyle, the list of kitchen tools above is for you. It will make eating and cooking healthy easier and more affordable, and sticking with it possible!
Don’t forget to check out my “Recipes” page for a list of all of my recipes, and check out the blogs I linked to above for tons more!
Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for convenience. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.