When every little bit helps, these gadgets can assist you in your efforts of eating (and drinking) better.
These 15 kitchen gadgets can help you clean up your eating. From pop molds that are perfect for small-batch homemade frozen treats to self-sharpening scissors that make cutting through everything from meat to herbs easier than you could hope, this collection of gadgets is sure to make healthy eating more fun. Don't be surprised if receiving these at your doorstep instantly makes you more excited to cook up a healthy meal for your whole family.
1. Tovolo Mini Turner Tongs, $8, amazon.com
A flat silicone head makes flipping and turning delicate foods like eggplant steaks or tofu planks easier. These tongs are shorts (8.5" long), so you'll have more control when handling foods. An easy locking mechanism makes popping the tongs open and storing them neatly a cinch.
2. Sabatier Edgekeeper Shears with Self-Sharpening Sheath, $8, amazon.com
In a clever cook's kitchen, scissors stay just as busy as a chef's knife. You can use scissors to cut through chicken breasts, snip chives, or quickly trim green beans. Keeping the shears properly sharpened is vital, however, if you want to make quick work of your kitchen tasks. These shears come with a self-sharpening sheather so you never have to worry with sharpening before your next task.
3. Microplane Zester, $15, amazon.com
This classic tool just will never be beat. A zester is great for more than zesting citrus. You can also use it to finely mince garlic, ginger, carrots, even cheese for salad dressings, tasty soup toppers, and more. The Premium Classic series also has the added bonus of being quite colorful. The two newest colors, Baby Blue and Retro Green (shown in top photo) are trendy for spring and summer but classic enough for many years of use.
4. Maverick Thermometer, $10, bbqgalore.com
When working with leaner cuts of meat, it's important to not overcook them. Too much time on the stove or in the oven can leave lean pork roasts, chickens, or beef roasts dry and stringy. Keep a probe thermometer near your stove so you can frequently check the internal temp and guarantee you get every type of meat to the just-right point of doneness.
5. Chicago Metallic 24 Cup 2 Bite Muffin Pan, $15, pfaltzgraff.com
Desserts, appetizers, muffins, quiches—the opportunities to make bite-size versions of favorite dishes are endless. This 24-cup muffin pan will get a lot of use in your kitchen. Have leftover herbs? Mince them and freeze them with olive oil for quick sautés. Have lots of quickly-ripening fruit? Pulse it in your food processor, pour into these cups, and freeze for easy smoothie starters.
6. Sur La Table Flex-Core Ground Meat Chopper & Turner, $8, surlatable.com
This specially-designed silicone tool helps break up ground meats, which allows pieces to cook more quickly and more evenly. Use the head of the turner to move meat around for equal cooking, and use the fin to break up the pieces. A one-piece unibody is machine washable and won't trap bacteria or food pieces.
7. KitchenAid Self Leveling Measuring Spoons, $8, amazon.com
They're as colorful as they are useful. Self-leveling measuring spoons are handy to have when you're busy whisking together salad dressings, keeping an eye on browning chicken, watching a pot of grains cook, and can't spare another hand to level with a knife. The set includes 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 teaspoons, as well as 1/2 and 1 tablespoon measures.
8. Lékué Stackable Single Pop Mold, $5, surlatable.com
Make healthy, homemade frozen pops in small batches with these stackable molds. If you have leftover fruit and a bottle of sparkling fruit juice, mix them up and pour. You don't need a full recipe to make a frozen treat you or your kids can enjoy. These pop molds are made with BPA-free silicone and available in 4 colors.
9. Paderno Handheld Spiralizers, $15, williams-sonoma.com
Electric spiralizers are great if you're ready to make the splurge, but if you're not sold on veggie noodles or if you just want to try something simple before making the commitment, a handheld spiralizer is a great trial run. Also, this spiralizer packs neatly away in case you need to bring one to work for a quick zoodle for lunch or at the beach. You get a choice of two blades: flat ribbons or 1/4"-thick spirals. When you're finished, wipe clean or wash in the dishwasher (top rack).
10. Chef'n Lemon-Aid Citrus Spiralizer, $10, amazon.com
Water is so much better with fresh fruit, and this new citrus-centric spiralizer makes quick twists out of lemons, limes, kiwis, and more. You can also use this gadget to make beautiful twists for topping desserts, but we think a big batch of all-natural lemonade would be spot-on, too.
11. Microplane Veggie Wedgie, $13, surlatable.com
If the name doesn't make you giggle, the clever cutting ability just might. Little chefs (and grown ones, for that matter) can spear cucumbers, carrots, eggs, squash and more with this handy tool. The Veggie Wedgie makes six perfectly wedged sections from any number of foods that fit in the tube. No need to break out a cutting board and knife. Carry it in your lunch tote or beach bag so you can easily slice, serve, and eat.
12. Casabella Cookie Dough Trays with Lids, $15/set of 2, amazon.com
Make and freeze perfectly-portioned pieces of cookie dough so you can bake only one or two at a time (and not eat the remaining dozens before they turn stale). Each tray holds 15 one-tablespoon scoops of dough. When you're ready to bake, just pop out a dough piece, place on cookie sheet, and bake. Included lids make storage easy and help prevent unwanted scents from the freezer from seeping into the dough.
13. Rubbermaid Brilliance Leak-Proof Medium Deep Container, $8, walmart.com
Meal prep is the healthy eater's way to make sure temptation doesn't sneak in and sabotage your best-laid plans. Keep a deep supply of right-sized containers on hand to store mise en place, salads, leftovers, and more. BPA-free Tritan plastic is great for foods like salads or parfaits that don't need to be microwaved. Look for stain- and odor-resistant options so your plastics don't look sad after a few uses.
14. IMUSA Lemon Squeezer, $6, amazon.com
Squeeze every last drop of juice from lemons and limes to make the most flavorful marinades, salad dressings, drinks, and more. A durable construction with aluminum means this squeezer can last through many dinner preps, margaritas makings, and lemonade mixing.
15. BonJour Silicone "Teas in a Pod" Tea Infuser, $13, bedbathandbeyond.com
Brew your own fresh batch of tea leaves with this cute tea infuser. Add your leaves to the stainless steel infuser, steep, and then store the infuser in the silicone holder. Available in three colors, these are inexpensive enough to keep one at work and at the office.