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8 Useful Kitchen Tools for the Healthy Cook

By , SparkPeople Blogger

How many times have you succumbed to takeout because it seemed like too much work to prepare a healthy meal at home? When you have a well-equipped kitchen, cooking nutritious foods doesn't have to be a chore. Whether you're cooking for a big family dinner or just making a meal for one on a Tuesday night, having the right tools makes kitchen time more effiicient. Add these eight tools to your kitchen to make cooking at home less of a hassle and more enjoyable. 

1. Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat (starting at $13.00)

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Non-stick silicone baking mats are great ways to cook items without any added fat. Whether you're baking cookies or roasting veggies, you can be sure your food won't need to be pried off the mat.
2. OXO Multi-Purpose Scraper and Chopper (starting at $9.95)

Photo courtesy of Amazon

A scraper is the perfect tool to speed up your prep time and keep your cutting board neat. Every time you grab your knife, collect the scraper as well. The straight edge lets you scoop up your chopped veggies without dulling the edge of your knife. The straight but not sharp edge makes this safe for new cooks and kids, too.
3. Tortilla Shell Pans ($24.99)

Photo courtesy of Amazon

You won't need Mexican takeout when you have these tortilla shell pans in your kitchen. No need for deep frying the tortilla in quarts of oil—use these pans to easily cut out the fat found in traditional taco salads. Bake them in the oven with just a mist of non-stick spray. You can also use these pans to bake cookie dough, filo dough or even cut pie crusts into "cups."

4. Cooking/Cooling Racks ($7.95)

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Oven-safe cooking and cooling racks are extremely useful to have in the kitchen. Use them to lift meats off baking or roasting pans to allow fat to drip away from your meat and onto the pan. They're also a must for faux frying foods by keeping the breaded foods elevated so the heat reaches all sides to give a "just fried" appearance without added the fat.

5. KitchenAid Immersion Blender ($47.99)

Photo courtesy of Amazon

I love tools that will handle more than one job in the kitchen. This immersion blender does so much more than just puree foods—it also chops fresh herbs to add to salsas, soups or salad dressings. Plus, it's perfect for making quick smoothies for a healthy breakfast or snack. 
6. Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons ($44.90)

Photo courtesy of Amazon 

A recipe that results in a perfect dish is actually a formula with specific ratios. Don't risk upsetting that ratio and risking failure by using warped or inaccurate measuring cups and spoons for your dry ingredients. These stainless steel Cuisipro cups will not change in shape after endless runs through the dishwasher, so your teaspoon of baking soda will remain just that.
7. Norpro "Wonder" Measuring Cup ($8.40)

Photo courtesy of Amazon 

In the kitchen, dry and liquid measuring cups are not interchangeable. But what if you're measuring something that's in between—say, something sticky? To ensure perfect results, reach for the "Wonder" measuring cup, which can easily measure sticky ingredients like honey, nut butters or tahini. Because of the tube style, you get the correct amount needed, without all the mess of a traditional measuring cup. Just slide up the measuring cup to push out the food.
8. AccuSharp Knife Sharpener ($8.09) 

Photo courtesy of Amazon 

If your go-to knife is dull, you will apply more pressure when cutting and chopping, which can lead to a slip and then a cut. Keep your knives sharp with an affordable and easy-to-store knife sharpener.
What are your favorite healthy cooking tools?

You might also like: Chef Meg's Top 10 Tools for a Stress-Free Kitchen

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I love my Clever Cutter (made by Ronan). Google Ronan Tools and search for it. It is like cutting with a pair of scissors, except where the bottom blade would be is a little cutting board, about an inch or inch and a half in width. It's super for food prep for vegetables or cheese because you don't have to drag out (and wash) your whole big cutting board. Plus, you can cut the food directly into your bowl or pan! I love it!!! Report
I love the wonder measuring cups. I have had both sizes for many years now and find they are so useful in many ways.
I am glad to see they still make them, as I may need a new one soon. Report
I love my blender and measuring cups. Would love to find some of those silicone baking sheets, not a fan of using oil or spray oil! Report
My must haves: food scale, measuring spoons and cups, good knives, and some good pans, I use my 13x 9, my flat baking pans, and my broiling pan the most. Report
Excellent point, RD03875! Gotta speak up for the *non-rich* among us - and there are *PLENTY*! Report
Once my husband bought me an immersion blender - it did become a 'must have'. I would probably use the silpat mat. Another good investment for my kitchen was a baking stone. Report
I really love using my julienne peeler to make faux pasta with zucchini! Report
What about a food scale? Much more exact than volumetric measurements. Report
That's a list for the rich people right? MUST HAVES? NOT to me! Report
Great list. Silpats are wonderful. And the immersion blender? It's fantastic. You don't need a fancy one. You can find them at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I was given a "Wonder" style measuring cup as a gift (same item, different brand) and it's great; it's a great tool to have when you are measuring both dry and wet ingredients for a recipe. Bench scrapers are also multi-purpose and pretty inexpensive. Report
I agree that these are hardly 'must haves" Lucinda Scala Quinn says 2 gadgets are kitchen "must haves" a sharp knife and a Spirtle ....these are wannas. I have the tortilla shell and have used it once, I use my measuring cups often, but the rest ......can live W/O Report
I've been thinking of the non stick mats for a while now. I might have to dive in and get one now that the holiday baking season is here. Report
I have to agree that all these are good kitchen gadgets to have except the tortilla shell pan. I live by what Alton Brown says on tv, if it doesn't have multiple uses, don't buy it. There are plenty of other ways to make tortilla bowls. Like someone else said, balled up aluminum foil. Or I've seen using an upside cupcake pan. And I don't agree that these are absolute Must Haves either. Out of the 8 listed, I only have 2 and my kitchen function just fine. Most of these I consider bonus kitchen items. Report
Whatever happened to the microplane?? One of the handiest implements in the kitchen, as well as zest from citrus, ribbons of zucchini etc, it grates the smallest piece of cheese into the largest pile of grated cheese Report
Measuring Cups! Very Important And I Could Use Another Immersion Blender. It's Great For Smoothies For One! Thanks For This Information! :) Report
Thanks for this blog. It has given me ideas for gifts for my sister. Report
Just added the Silpat to my wish list. :) Report
I guess what's 'essential' depends on what a person mostly cooks... Report
Where is kitchen scale? I think when you are trying to lose weight, a kitchen scale is more important than a knife sharpener.

The tortilla shell thing sounds nice, but in a small apt kitchen like mine, a balled up piece of tin foil does the same job. Report
Silpat. I only wish I had discovered it YEARS ago! And the immersion blender...I can't count the number of breakfast drinks I made my kids when they were little! Report
I'm disappointed that SP would term such items "must-haves." SEBASTIANLADY, you are so right! We " must-have" basics. All this other stuff might be just STUFF (clutter) and inappropriate for those with limited space or money - or those who simply choose to make do with less. Report
More basic than the above. A good set of sharp knives (that can be sharpened and honed). A big roasting pan for doing roasted veggies. A broiler pan for broiling chicken. Report
my favorite kitchen tool is my food processor....i use it at least once a week, often more! Report
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