One of the best things you can do for your health is to start cooking. Having the right arsenal of tools will make meals easier and faster to put together.
Here are our top picks for the tools and gadgets that make prepping healthy meals as easy and convenient as possible:
1. Quality Knives—Sharp, quality cutlery maximize speed and safety when slicing and dicing. Instead of buying a whole knife set, invest in two or three good, versatile knives. Here are the only ones you really need:
- 8-Inch Chef’s knife: The perfect size for chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing and more!
- Serrated utility knife: Good for slicing through delicate produce like tomatoes, and fresh bread
- Paring knife: Your go-to for smaller, more detailed jobs, like deveining shrimp
Tip: Good knives only need to be sharpened once a year. To keep edges nice and sharp in between, run them along a honing steel every couple of uses.
2. Cutting Boards—Sure having different sized cutting boards is convenient, but not necessary. If you’re only going to have one, just make sure it’s big enough to work on! We like Epicurean boards made from wood fiber composite. In addition to being eco-friendly and affordable, they’re durable, nonporous, knife-friendly, and dishwasher safe.
3. Bowls—A set of mixing bowls can be used to organize ingredients, mix, marinate, and more. Get a set with lids and they can be used for storing leftovers in the fridge, too. Stainless steel bowls are both lightweight and durable, but glass allows you to see what’s inside — so we can see a use-case for both!
4. Peeler—Save time and spare your fingers with a good veggie peeler. Vertical peelers are easier to hold while peeling, whereas horizontal ones can be used both to peel and thinly slice vegetables. Zucchini ribbons, anyone?
Tip: Use a spiralizer for throwing together quick and easy stir-frys!
5. Tongs—This claw-like tool is a multitasking kitchen powerhouse! Use them for everything from turning meat, fish or veggies in a pan, to serving salad at the dinner table. Stainless steel tongs are the most versatile and durable.
6. Wooden Spoons—Wooden spoons can be used for everything: prepping, stirring, mixing and cooking. We like them because they’re inexpensive, eco—and human—friendly (unlike cheap plastic ones) and they won’t scratch your cookware.
7. Pans—A few versatile pans will go a long way, and are really all you need!
- 10-inch Saute Pan: You can use it to fry up an egg, but the high sides and larger surface area also make this pan perfect for sautéing anything from leafy greens to braising meat – just make sure you get one that’s oven safe! Another perk to this pan: the taller sides also reduce the risk of sauces or slices sloshing out.
- Cast Iron Skillet: Reduce the amount of fat you use in cooking with a naturally non-stick cast iron skillet. Perfect for searing meat, veggies, and can even be used in the oven for roasting a chicken. They’re inexpensive and easy to clean – no soap needed!
- Large Saucepan: A necessary workhorse for steamed veggies, hard-boiled eggs, pasta and more!
8. Baking Sheet—Grab one or two large baking sheets for quick and easy sheet-pan dinners, roasted vegetables, or baking a homemade pizza. They’re also great for freezing foods individually (like berries!) and even double as a lid for a big ol’ soup pot. These aluminum pans bake evenly yet are durable, easy to clean, and non-stick free!
9. Clear Food Storage Containers––Whether you’re prepping ingredients and meals ahead of time or packing up leftovers for lunch tomorrow, clear food storage containers let you know what’s inside at first glance. Glass containers are highly durable, as well as freezer-, microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Plastic options are lightweight and great for taking on-the-go.
10. Combination Food Processor & Blender—This 2-in-1 appliance can make everything from pesto and cauliflower rice to pureed soups and smoothies a breeze.