18 must-have kitchen gadgets for a healthier diet
Take a look around your kitchen – what do you see? Probably a blender, food processor; the usual kitchen gadgets. Blenders are great for making healthy protein smoothies or vitamin-packed soups, whilst food processors can be beneficial for making salads, chopping vegetables, vegan baking and curry pastes, amongst other things. But what about some of the latest gadgets that are taking the healthy cooking world by storm? Gadgets that the likes of Hemsley and Hemsley (whose latest cookbook makes great use of the 'spiraliser' that we'll mention later) depend on.
Ok, so it's true that some may spend more time languishing in the back of your kitchen cupboards, or gathering dust on the windowsill, but there are others which can literally shake up the way you cook and eat. Navigating the array of gadgets on offer can seem like a bit of a minefield – some are expensive and you don't want to waste your hard-earned cash. So how do you choose which gadgets are best for you and your lifestyle? We've come up with the must-haves, the devices which will transform your diet; of course feel free to let us know your opinions below, as we'd love to hear which gadgets you rely on to make healthy meals.
Looking to cut your carb intake whilst increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables? Then try the spiralizer. This handy device turns nutrient-packed fruit and vegetables into healthy 'noodles, 'rice' and 'pasta' in seconds. Spiralize a whole courgette for a bowl of delicious 'courgettini' or courgette spaghetti. A 125g portion contains just 21 calories and 4g of carbs, compares for regular pasta, which has 346 calories and 64g of carbs per portion.
You can even make delicious spiralized vegetable salads or dice the spirals in a food processor to make risotto 'rice'. This can help you to eat more balanced meals – remember your plate should be half fruit and vegetables, a quarter protein and a quarter carbs.
#2. Oxo Good Grips Hand-Held Mandoline
#3. Prep Pad
This gadget from the US is part health guru, part sci fi. It's a kitchen scales, essentially, but it's also so much more! It's environmentally friendly, made of recycled composite paper. But it also connects via Bluetooth to your iPod or smartphone to give you a breakdown of any food's nutritional value. Well, almost any food.
#4. Tell Spec
If you suffer from food allergies, this futuristic little gadget, already available on pre-order in the US (and hopefully available soon over here) may be expensive, but it's worth the investment. You wave it over your food and it detects allergens, whilst giving you a breakdown of ingredients, calories and nutrients.
#5. Prepara Deluxe Oil Mister
Rather than using a conventional oil drizzler, or pouring straight from the bottle when cooking, investing in an oil mister means you can lightly mist your food with oil. This helps you to consume fewer calories. Choose a heart-healthy oil such as olive oil for the best option.
#6. Jokari Portion Control Dressing Lid
This fits onto most standard dressing bottles and can help you to control your portion size when it comes to pouring salad dressings. You know how easy it is to spoil a healthy salad with too much dressing? You'll always know how many calories you're consuming with this essential gadget.
#7. Morphy Richards Multi-Cooker
A multi-cooker is a great investment if you're short on space – it replaces your slow cooker and steamer for an easy way to create meals. So you can steam healthy salmon or chicken or make a delicious, vegetable-packed casserole to come home to after a long day at the office.
#8. Microplane Herb Mill
Nobody wants to spend all their time chopping fresh herbs, yet adding them to your dishes for flavour can help you cut back on salt and other seasonings. Invest in this herb mill which will finely chop your herbs for you; it's a must have for soup and pasta dishes!
#9. Bobble Water Bottle
If you enjoy the taste of filtered water but are always on-the-go, there is a solution. We should all drink plenty of water for optimum health – around 2 litres a day is the recommended amount, although other drinks such as green tea can count towards this. The Bobble Water Bottle filters your water whilst you drink, removing chlorine and other nasties. With a replaceable carbon filter, it will last forever!
#10. Sistema Soup-to-go Mug
Thermos flasks are great, but this handy polypropylene mug has one distinct advantage – it's microwave safe. It will keep your healthy vegetable soup, noodles or hot drinks hot for longer, and if you need to re-heat, just remove the lid and pop it in the microwave. Great for nutritious lunches at work or after a workout.
#11. Chef'n Freshforce Orange Juicer
Don't waste money on expensive gadgets and juicers to make your own orange juice every morning. This one gets the job done for a fraction of the price, and it's so easy to use. You can produce fresh orange juice with no seeds or pulp in seconds. Just cut your fruit in half, place it in the juicer and squeeze.
#12. Oxo Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Tool
Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and can be used to add creamy texture to desserts. But they can often be a bit tricky to prepare. Take the hard work out of preparing any avocado – this 3-in-1 tool splits, pits, slices and scoops avocados; it's great for salads, making fresh guacamole, desserts and more.
#13. Breville Blend Active
Sometimes it can be a pain hauling your bulky blender out of the cupboard, or cleaning it when all you want is one healthy protein smoothie. The Breville Blend Active is designed as a single-serve blender, and the attached cup is removable, so you just blend and go – it's ready for you to take with you to work, the gym or wherever.
#14. Microwave Popcorn Popper
Those pre-packed bags of microwave popcorn may be tasty, but they're also filled with salt, sugar and other additives. Home-made popcorn can actually be a healthy, low-fat snack; if you prepare it the right way. Just pick up a bag of kernels, which you'll find in most supermarkets or health food stores and pop your own popcorn in the microwave with this handy popper. Why not try sprinkling with a little parmesan cheese for a savoury kick?
#15. Joseph Joseph Triscale
Scales are essential for portion control and of course healthy baking! If space is an issue, choose this collapsible digital scales – it's colourful and functional, and features an 'add and weigh' ability which makes weighing out multiple ingredients much easier.
#16. Lekue Steam Case with Tray
This steam case means you can steam fish, meat and vegetables for a healthy meal, without any fuss or mess. The interior tray helps liquid drain away and you can use the case in the microwave or oven, depending on your preferences. This is a great, quick and easy alternative to using a steamer, ideal for those on a budget or with limited space.
#17. George Foreman Grill
These were all the rage when they first came out, but they're still popular today. A great way to prepare poultry or other meat, the fat drains away down the grill's channels into the dish below, making this the ideal way to cook if you're trying to eat more healthily. We think the George Foreman Grill makes great toasted sandwiches but it's also great for grilling chicken for salads and wraps.
#18. Lakeland Lolly Maker
If you have kids, you'll know how hard it can be to keep them away from ice cream and lollies filled with additives during the summer months. Make your own at home with this handy lolly maker – just add fresh fruit juice or blend up a smoothie and freeze it for super-healthy treats that are all-natural.