Monday, May 4, 2009

13 Things Every Healthy Kitchen Needs

I love kitchen gadgets and appliances. I've tried out more than my fair share of them over the years. Once the novelty wears off, most of them end up on a shelf in the basement. The ones on this list have earned a permanent place in my kitchen and are used almost daily. These must-haves make preparing healthy food simple and deserve a spot in every healthy kitchen, vegetarian or not.

1. Good Sharp Knife- this is hands down the most important tool of any kitchen. Vegetable choppers and slicing gadgets are more trouble than they are worth and cleaning them is time consuming. Chopping, slicing and dicing are faster and easier with a good sharp knife and cleanup is a breeze.
2. Garlic Press- garlic is antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer. Crushing it releases the active compounds. I use mine everyday.
3. Cast Iron Skillet- very important for vegetarians, cooking in an iron pan imparts iron into the food. Since vegetarians do not get iron from meat, they need alternative sources.
4. Blender/Smoothie Maker- very few of us eat enough raw dark green leafy vegetables-one of the keys to good health. They are loaded with nutrients and help prevent a host of diseases. A daily smoothie containing greens is an easy way for even the pickiest eater to boost intake. Smoothies are better than juicing because the whole fruit and vegetable are being consumed, so you are not wasting the nutritious pulp, which contains nutrients, fiber, and helps regulate blood sugar.
5. Bread Machine- the simplest way to get nutritious whole grain breads and rolls. You have control over the ingredients so you can avoid all the additives in store bought breads.
6. Citrus Juicer- fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice contain vitamin c and flavonoids. Drizzled on veggies it boosts nutrition while tasting great.
7. Citrus Grater- grated organic citrus peel is a nutritious addition to salads, veggies, whole grain cereals and baked goods. Do not grate the peel of non-organic citrus because it may contain dyes, waxes and pesticides.
8. Steamer- raw is best, but if you are going to cook veggies, steaming conserves the most nutrients.
9. Rice Cooker- makes it simple to cook perfect brown rice, and often comes with a steamer basket so you can steam veggies while your rice cooks.
10. Seed Sprouter- sprouts are highly nutritious and can be grown year-round in any kitchen.
11. Tea Ball/Infuser- easily mix and steep loose leaf teas and herbal teas for any need. I steep my homegrown organic chamomile tea and mints.
12. Food Processor- makes grinding nuts, pureeing soups and making hummus quick and simple.
13. Crock Pot- great way to have a healthy meal waiting for you at the end of a busy day and prevents you from making less healthy choices of junk or fast food.

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