Article By: Maria Tucker, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDCES
Maria Tucker is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 20 years of experience assisting patients with diabetes, obesity, and nutrition-related conditions. Maria is also the Founder of MyBiyaya.com, a site dedicated to healthy recipes and kitchen shortcuts.
Remember the days when you had to wait at least an hour for your mom to finish cooking your family’s dinner meal? Well, nowadays, it is not uncommon for dinner to be done in less than 30 minutes, thanks to some small kitchen appliances that make quick work of preparing delicious meals without the hours spent prepping and cooking. Let’s explore the most popular and “must-have” small kitchen appliances that can save you time and money.
1) Air Fryer. This is a relatively new gadget on the market and is considered by most home cooks as a great way to enjoy the flavor of fried food without the extra fat and calories. Before you purchase one, however, you should consider your budget, the capacity and how much food you plan to cook in it as well as features you want it to have, such as preset or pre-programmed options, one that can also grill, bake or toast bread, easy clean up as well as how much counter space you are willing to give it. Air fryers can cost anywhere from $50 to upwards of $200, depending on the features, size or capacity and of course, brand.
2) Multi-Cooker. This has been the most popular small kitchen appliance lately and is a more modern version of the old pressure cooker. It boasts the ability to cut cooking time by at least half and there is no longer the fear of the pressure cooker exploding! It is a versatile cookware that can pressure cook food to tenderize it quickly, slow-cook if you want that slow-cooked texture and flavor, boil eggs, cook rice to perfection, bake cakes and many others. One multi- cooker can replace two or three other kitchen appliances since it has features. Just like with the air fryer, you should consider the capacity, features and budget you are willing to spend on it. The more features it has, the higher the cost but it is also important to get one that will last a long time, is durable and has good warranty on it, in case you’ll need to have it repaired or replaced.
3) Blender. A staple in most American kitchens, this kitchen appliance is an essential tool for healthy eating. Smoothies and protein shakes have become part of the daily meal pattern for people working on losing weight or simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It makes it easy to have quick nourishment in the morning when you can make a protein shake in a few minutes versus cooking breakfast. For the immediate post-bariatric surgery patients, the blender is essential for creating smooth purées and soups that can provide nutrition while the gut is healing. When choosing a blender, consider what you want to use it for – will you be using it to make soups or protein shakes? Do you want to be able to make salad dressings in it? There are standard size blenders and single-serve types, some with “cyclonic” blades which creates very small particles as you blend the food, making the end product smooth. Some come with a food processor bowl as well as single-serve “to go” cups and a dough hook.
Whichever kitchen appliance you choose, the most important thing is to use it! Having an air fryer will not help you eat healthier fried food if you do not use it. Buying a multi-cooker isn’t going to save you time if it sits in your kitchen cabinet still in the box. You cannot make protein shakes for a quick breakfast replacement if you have not taken time to learn how to use the features of your new blender. Preparing and cooking healthy meals can sometimes take a long time but with the right kitchen appliances, you can make healthy meals and protein shakes in a jiffy!