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Kitchen Makeover: Appliances for a Healthy Kitchen

Eating out too often is not good for your health.  The standard excuse we use is that cooking is a time-consuming chore.  However, investing in the right appliances can decrease the time you spend in the kitchen and help you create delicious, healthy meals with less effort.  Here are the top five kitchen appliances we recommend.  Of course, you can still use your microwave to re-heat homemade leftovers.

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot
A slow cooker is one of the most versatile appliances for your healthy kitchen.  Use it to cook healthy meals but avoid spending lots of time in the kitchen.  Slow cooking can also accommodate gluten-free, low-fat and vegetarian dishes.

Crock pots come with various features and are made in various sizes.  Visit this link for a guide on how to select the right one for you.  And if you are new to slow cooking, many books, blogs and magazines feature healthy slow cooking recipes, including those for soups, stews, casseroles, pasta dishes, beans, whole grains, main entrees, breakfast and even dessert.  Here’s a site to get you started.

Hand Blender
A hand blender is a time-saving tool that allows for quick clean-up (no heavy blender pitcher to wash).  Put a cup of milk or yogurt and some fruit in a large glass, and the hand blender conveniently turns it into a delicious smoothie.

Hand blenders, or immersion blenders, can also be used to puree soups directly in the pot, blend batters and mix beverages.  Some brands come with extra attachments, including a whisk, dough mixer or small chopper.

Indoor Contact Grill
Indoor grills have come a long way in the past few years. Not only can they cook steak and other meats, but they can also be used for grilled vegetables and fruits, grilled cheese sandwiches, Panini sandwiches and pizza.  Some models even come with extra attachments for making pancakes and waffles.

Choose a size depending on the size of your family, and remember that removable plates make cleaning a lot easier.  Also, indoor grills with larger grease catchers allow you to cook leaner meats.

Bread Maker
If you have 10 minutes to assemble ingredients in a pan, three hours later you will have a beautiful, tasty, healthy loaf of bread that’s free of preservatives and artificial ingredients. With the easy-to-use bread maker, the possibilities are endless.  Make a whole grain, gluten-free, sweet or savory loaf, or use the dough setting to make pasta or pizza dough.

Small Food Processor
These small sized processors are handy for making dips, salsas, marinades, pesto, hummus and salad dressings. They can also grind nuts, flax seeds and spices.

Parul Kharod is a clinical dietitian at WakeMed Cary Hospital. With questions for the dietitians, e-mail For individual nutrition counseling, call WakeMed Cary Hospital Outpatient Nutrition Services at 919-350-2358.