When it comes to cooking healthy meals and making smart food choices, it helps to set yourself up for success. For some, this means meticulous meal planning and prepping on the weekends. For others, it means a sizable budget dedicated to home-delivered meals. And for you, well, it might mean something else entirely. But one thing’s for sure: Having the right tools helps.
To find out what experts rely on in their own kitchens, we asked registered dietitians to share their favorite kitchen gear and gadgets. Everything below helps them prepare healthy food at home, and it can help you, too.
Read on for eight dietitian-approved tools, plus a little inspiration on how to use them.
“It is indestructible. [Clients like] Single-A ball players, NFL players and rugby players have all used and abused the blender, and it shows no signs of quitting. I use it for soups, dips, hummus, smoothies, slushies and shakes. It’s easy to clean and can blend anything including limestone.”
— Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, and owner of Active Eating Advice by Leslie
“Lemon juice is great for making salad dressings, topping off grilled or roasted vegetables and even some pastas; it’s also useful in making drinks.”
— Louise Chen, Dallas-based registered dietitian
“I love my rice cooker. I know the most time-consuming part of my dinner is cooking, and it will be ready whenever we sit down to eat. It automatically stops cooking when the rice is done and keeps it warm, so I don’t have to think about it once I press start. I like to eat a variety of different grains with dinner, from antioxidant-rich red rice to nutty brown jasmine to savory mushroom rice pilaf.”
— Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN
“I love my purse-like insulated lunch box because I live on-the-go. I can pack all of my cheese, fruit, nuts, crackers, etc., and save money and calories on busy days. It keeps me on track and well-fueled throughout the day.”
— Amy Goodson, RD and a nutrition consultant
“You can use them to make overnight oats, salads (kale and cabbage salads keep best if you’re making them in advance), desserts or even use them as a fruit container. Eating from something pretty is always more fun.”
“No regrets for getting my very versatile kitchen gadget! I think I use it more often than my full-sized blender because I’m not a fan of washing bulky equipment. Basically, the fewer things I have to wash, the less friction I have toward cooking. An immersion blender fits into pots, bowls, pitchers, containers and large jars. I have made soups, smoothies, pasta sauce, nut butters, mayonnaise, hummus and salad dressing with my hand blender. Will it splash sometimes? No doubt, but it’s fun and easy to use. A downside is that it doesn’t smoothly blend stringy kale, flax seeds and nuts, so keep this in mind if perfect consistency is what you need.”
—Trinh Le, MPH, RDN and blogger at FearlessfoodRD
“The kitchen gadget that I probably use the most is a good set of tongs. They’re great for serving up salads, pasta and other dishes and turning items cooking in a pan or on the grill. I always miss them when cooking outside of my own kitchen.”
— LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD
“I add garlic to almost everything. With the press, my hands are less smelly versus chopping, and you get a ton of flavor. I use this for making things like guacamole.”