One of the most important aspects of being healthy and fit is your diet. I like to say that what you eat makes up 80% of your results!
While it is possible to eat healthy at certain restaurants – like I demonstrated in my first Eat Out, Eat Healthy video – cooking your own meals is really the best way to make sure your nutrition is where it needs to be. That way, you know what is going into your foods and how much you are actually eating.
I cook in bulk 1-2 times a week – as most of you saw in Part 1 and Part 2 of my food prep videos – and there a few kitchen “tools” I consider essential components of any healthy kitchen.
A pretty obvious one, and I am sure most of you have one of these in your home. My recommendation is to get one that is 10 or 12-inches, as they are the most useful. Also, the best ones are made of metals that conduct heat efficiently like stainless steel-wrapped aluminum or cast iron. If you invest in a high quality pan it will last so much longer than a cheap one, especially if you use it every day like I do 🙂
I use this every week when I cook my fish, steak, salmon or chicken in bulk. I originally got one when I was living in Michigan because I wasn’t allowed to have a grill at my apartment, and because it was so cold for 4-5 months out of the year! Even though I now live in warmer Souther California, I still use it to this day. The best one I have found that covers two burners is at Williams and Sonoma.
Rice is a huge staple in my diet all year – brown, wild and white. I have ruined so many pans cooking and burning rice before, so this was one of my favorite purchases. I got mine at Costco for about $30. Add the rice and water and push start and viola! You can even leave the house for hours and let it cook, as most rice cookers automatically stop when the rice is done and go into a “warming” mode to keep the rice warm until you turn it off.
Growing up, I always called this a crock pot. If you are tired of grilled, or dry chicken, get one of these. When I am not using my grill pans, I will add about 4-5 pieces of raw chicken with 1 cup of salsa and 1 cup of water to the slow cooker. The chicken comes out so tender it falls apart with a fork! You can even add veggies, potatoes and rice to make it a complete meal. There are even slow cooker bags to line the inside of the appliance for a quick and easy cleanup 🙂
Although I usually use the microwave, this pot makes steaming your veggies really simple and leaves them tasting a little more fresh. Just place water in the bottom pan (about 2 inches deep). Place the smaller pan inside with the raw veggies in it. Put the lid on, turn the burner on high and wait about 15 minutes. Done!
I drink protein shakes and smoothies almost every day. Over the years I have gone through so many different blenders and used to love the Magic Bullet. But certain parts of that blender kept breaking on me, so I finally got sick and tired of replacing it with a new one and invested in the Vitamix. I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond and it was worth every penny. It blends so good, that if you keep it on for a few minutes straight it generates so much heat it can make soup! There are so many great recipes you can make with this, even though mine is reserved specifically for protein drinks 🙂