"The less time you have for cooking - and the less you enjoy cooking - the more you need a well equipped kitchen. It's hard to be enthusiastic about cooking when each attempt is complicated by not having the right set of tools."
If you want to achieve optimal health, you will need to spend some serious time in the kitchen preparing your own food. Like any work space, your kitchen needs good tools. With the following basic tools you'll be well on your way to creating easy, delicious, and nutritious meals.
- KNIVES - good quality, sharp knives make meal preparation easier and more efficient. Look for a set that comes with numerous blade sizes and a sharpener. Basics needed are a serrated knife (for tomatoes), a 9-10 inch chef's knife (for slicing meat or poultry and chopping vegetables, nuts, and herbs), and a 3-4 inch paring knife (for peeling and cutting fruit, and mincing herbs or garlic).
- CUTTING BOARDS - 2 cutting boards are ideal... 1 for raw proteins and 1 for produce to avoid cross-contamination when cooking.
- BOWLS - a set of 3 glass or stainless steel mixing bowls are versatile and will last a lifetime.
- MEASURING SPOONS & CUPS - 1 set of spoons and 2 sets of cups... 1 for measuring liquids (usually have pouring spouts) and 1 for dry ingredients (that can be leveled off).
- COOKWARE - 1 small (8-10 inch) and 1 large (12-14 inch) skillet for everything from sauteed vegetables to searing meat (IF you choose non-stick skillets be sure to look for ones made without PTFE or PFOA. These are marketed as "green" or "eco-friendly" and have coatings that won't break down when used over high heat), 1 small (2 quart) and 1 large (4 quart) sauce pans, a 5-6 quart stockpot/dutch oven (used on the stove top or in the oven to brown or braise meats, make soups and stews, and even roast a whole chicken), and a roasting pan and rack (made from heavy metal with sturdy handles).
- STEAMER - look for adjustable one that fits into a variety of pot sizes.
- THERMOMETER - essential for making sure meat and poultry are safely cooked and done to your preference.
- UTENSILS - spatulas in various sizes (at least 1 heat resistant silicone spatula is a must), vegetable peeler (a Y shaped peeler has a better grip for hard to peel foods like mangoes and butternut squash), slotted spoon, wire wisk, tongs, wooden spoons, ladle, mesh strainer, garlic press, grater (with multiple sized grating surfaces), kitchen shears, and a lemon press.
- METAL COLANDER
- BAKEWARE - 1 small (7x11 inch), 1 large (9x13 inch), and 1 - 8 inch square shallow glass or ceramic dishes.
- STORAGE CONTAINERS - in multiple sizes (glass is preferred but if using plastic, be sure they are BPA free).]
- BLENDER - for smoothies, salad dressings, sauces, and soups.
The following are optional, but they are sure nice to have:
- SALAD SPINNER
- SLOW COOKER
- HAND IMMERSION BLENDER
- FOOD PROCESSOR
- INDOOR GRILL
To make your kitchen an enjoyable and easy place to work, be sure your tools are handy, your sink is cleared out, and your work surfaces are clean. Then, go for it!
Happy, Healthy Living!
JoAnn Newton is a Holistic Nutrition Educator and Master Massage Therapist with a private practice in Graton, CA.
Passionate about helping people transform their health through holistic nutrition, she facilitates the 23 day online Nutritional E-Cleanse Program with coaching, compassion, and humor.