When it comes to making fast, healthy, and delicious meals, even top nutritionists can use a little bit of help in the kitchen. Good gadgets (and sous chef... if you can get your hands on one!) make meal prep easier, faster and more fun. I asked some of my favorite registered dietitian foodies to share their top kitchen gadget picks.
Kit Broihier, MS, RD, LD, food and nutrition writer and owner of NutriComm Inc: Oil Misters
"I can't get enough of my oil mister. Why buy chemically nonstick cooking spray when you can turn mist your own oil with a simple non-aerosol oil mister? Just fill the container with extra virgin olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil) and use it as you would a nonstick cooking spray. I use mine everyday to trim the fat in my recipes. I spray my pans so food doesn't stick -- it's great for veggies that you want to grill or roast.
They also help slash calorie-rich fat when cooking and they're more eco-friendly because they're nonaerosol. A good mister costs anywhere from about $9 to $25. Some are basic aluminum while others come in a rainbow of colors to match your kitchen décor." Check out: Savora, Williams Sonoma and Crate&Barrel.
Hand Held Mandoline
"One of the best time-saving tools in my kitchen is my hand held mandoline. There's nothing quite like it for slicing veggies fast. Traditional mandolines can lead to cut fingertips and lost nails due to the sharpness of the blade and the lack of protection for your working hand. So I use The Chef'n SleekSlice because it's a collapsible mandoline that has a handle to keep your precious fingers away from the blade. It also has four thickness settings so you can set it to paper thin up to ¼-inch thick slices."
Christen Cupples Cooper, MS, RD, founder of Cooper Nutrition Education & Communications: Oven Rotisserie
"I love our oven rotisserie -- especially for cooking lamb; the fat just drips off and the meat is so evenly cooked and flavorful. We put the rotisserie lamb slices inside whole wheat pita bread with lettuce, tomato and hummus-an Israeli shwarma sandwich." Rotisseries are available for under $100 to well over $1,000. Check out Hamilton Beach and Black & Decker.
"I also like my waffle maker, which I have had since 1995! You can just spray some non-stick oil on it and crisp up some healthy waffles. I make mine adding bran, flax seed or wheat germ. They are a breakfast staple in my house. I have even pressed sandwiches like grilled cheese in my waffle iron. It allows me to grill a sandwich without a messy pan loaded with butter or margarine." Check out Calphalon and All-Clad.
"Another tool I use virtually every day is my stovetop iron grill/griddle. It is literally that -- just a grill you put right over a gas burner. It is great for everything from burgers (on the grill part) to pancakes (griddle part). The food ends up having a diner taste and the surface allows you to cut the fat." Check out Le Cruesset and Lodge Logic.
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, culinary nutritionist and author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes: Cherry Pitter
Ilaria St. Florian MS, RD, Clinical Dietitian at Stamford Hospital, Stamford, Ct: Color-Coded Cutting Boards
"One of my favorite kitchen gadgets are color coded cutting boards meant to separate raw meats, poultry and fish from raw and ready-to-eat produce, grains or dairy. I use cutting boards daily for chopping or slicing and you'll always find one sitting on my kitchen counter. These boards just make it easier to avoid any unnecessary cross-contamination thanks to their coded colors representing different foods (e.g. red = raw meat, yellow = raw poultry, blue = raw fish, green = fruits and vegetables, light blue = breads and dairy), they're also well-sized to make for easy cabinet storage and are dishwasher safe to make for fast and easy clean-up." Check out Joseph Joseph.
Katherine Brooking MS, RD, Co-founder AppforHealth.com: T-fal Actifry
My own favorite gadget? It's hard to choose, but for sure one is my T-fal Actifry. Even a nutritionist can indulge (guilt free!) in fried food using this machine. It uses just 1 teaspoon of oil and allows you to make favorites like French fries with a fraction of the fat without sacrificing taste. Check out Actifry.
The other is my Vitamix 5200 mixer and smoothie maker. I must admit I have become addicted to my own smoothie drinks. I use it nearly everyday. It's also great for making everything from soups to batters to nut butters and hummus. The Vitamix is a bit pricier than many other traditional blenders, but it is well worth the price for its versatility and quality. Check out Vitamix.
For more by Katherine Brooking, click here.
For more on diet and nutrition, click here.