You might be looking for a radical change to your lifestyle or diet. Perhaps you just want to make a few small changes that improve your everyday life without impacting on your time or finances or maybe you just want to eat better.
There are a lot of gadgets and small kitchen appliances out there that promise all sorts of benefits and not all of them deliver. This isn’t to say they don’t all have a purpose, it may just be they are not giving you the benefits promised or you find you are not using them enough.
Here are 7 items you can buy easily from retail shops or online that might bring you some small or in some cases large benefits to your health and possibly daily routine.
1. Food Steamers
A very simple kitchen item that has been used in bamboo form for thousands of years in China. Bamboo steamers are inexpensive and can cook fish, chicken breast, dumplings and vegetables healthily. Steamed food retains more vitamins and other nutrients than boiling and keeps more of the flavour. They are a simple way to choose a healthy meal with little preparation needed. You can use cabbage or lettuce leaves to line the steamer so it doesn’t stick and requires no more than a wok or saucepan that fits the steamer.
If you prefer not to use bamboo then you can get long lasting silicone steamers to fit a saucepan or microwave steamers if you don’t have a hob. If you think you will do a lot of steaming then consider an electric steamer but these are more expensive.
2. Salad Spinners
This probably won’t improve your health but it might encourage you to ditch the pre packed salad bags and start buying fresh vegetables you can smell and touch. If you buy a lot of bagged salads then this might save you money over time create less packaging waste and obviously salads are a healthy option.
3. Egg Poaching Pan
Eggs are cheap and a great source of protein. Poaching is one of the healthiest ways to eat them as there are no oils or butter added. These pans let you cook poached eggs without all the fuss of adding vinegar and stirring. Just fill the pan with water and wait for it to boil. Crack the eggs into the compartments and put the lid on. Three minutes later you will have soft cooked poached eggs. No excuses to buy unhealthy snacks or miss breakfast.
4. Instant Pot
This is a bigger investment than other items you may be considering but could make bigger differences to your lifestyle and your health. Firstly it could free up time for you which will allow you to spend time exercising if you wish or just more time with your family. It will save you money and it is likely the meals you will make will be lower in fat than meals made with other cooking methods.
Instant pots cook with such pressure that they reduce cooking times by up to 2 thirds. This means you are saving up to 70% energy and that means smaller utility bills. They can be preprogrammed to start cooking while you are at the gym or on the way home so you don’t have to spend time preparing meals in the evening. Because they use trapped steam to cook they tenderise cheap cuts of meat and need no added fats or oils. This means more nutrients retained than even steaming, lower fat meals and money saved on not buying expensive cuts of meat.
You will also save on cooking oil as you will not need to buy so much if you use an Instant Pot. They can handle slow cooked soups, stews and you can try Instant Pot zucchini recipes too.
5. Air Fryer
This works by circulating hot around the cooker and uses either none or a very minimal amount of oil. It is good if you find fried food hard to resist but want to eat healthier. It cooks quicker than normal methods and saves energy just like the Instant Pot does. The benefits are time and money saving along with lower fat food. Again saving on cooking oil and not worrying about how to dispose of old oil.
These come in a variety of types and price ranges. There are professional, commercial types and ones aimed at the casual home cook. As everything it pays to do some research first. The benefits of having your own blender are that you can choose exactly what goes into and soup or fruit smoothie you make. This means not having to worry about any unwanted nasties or added sugars on the ingredients label. It also means instead of buying from a shop and all the plastic packaging that brings with it you can make your own and save not only money but help the environment.
If it is just soup you want to primarily make and you have a small budget then look at some of the hand blenders on the market as these can help to make blended soups and sauces on the stove.
7. Self Levelling Measuring Spoons and Rice & Spaghetti Cups
A smaller gadget but one that is useful if you find that you tend to cook too much and then overeat. The rice and spaghetti cup lets you select just the right amount of grains or pasta for your meal and the measuring spoons are for other ingredients such as salt and sugar to get the amounts right. Meaning no unhealthy amounts of salt or over indulging in large quantities of pasta. Can help stick to a calorie controlled diet.
These are just some devices and appliances on the market. Some will save you time and money and help to improve your lifestyle. Other gadgets help to reduce fat and calories in your diet or make proteins more digestible through cooking methods. Some of them help the environment by reducing unnecessary packaging and some simply stop you cooking too much. Whether any of these help you will depend on your requirements and how much you integrate them into your meal preparation.