22 Handy Kitchen Tools for Healthier Living

Introducing these genius gadgets to your kitchen could help you cook smarter, eat healthier, and even shed pounds

February 8, 2013
kitchen: Slim & Sage Porcelain Plates picture
1/22 Slim & Sage
Slim & Sage Porcelain Plates ($100 set)

Finally, a set of diet-friendly dishware you'll actually want to use. These 9" microwave- and dishwasher-safe plates denote proper portion sizes without skimping on sophistication. (Stock your kitchen with this list of 26 Healthiest Foods) Fill half the plate with veggies and divide the other half evenly between whole grains and lean protein for a stylishly slimming meal.

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kitchen: Lifesize Portioning System picture
2/22 Lifesize
Lifesize Portioning System ($80)

Give calorie-counting a rest and take the guesswork out of serving sizes with this eight-tool set. The Lifesize system allows you to measure perfect portions of carbs, dairy, sauces, baked goods, snacks, toppings, meats--even liquids. 

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kitchen: Pluck Sunny Side Out picture
3/22 Pluck
Pluck Sunny Side Out ($13)

When making a low-cholesterol omelet, save yourself the stress and mess of separating the egg whites from the egg yolk with this innovative tool. Simply place the Pluck over a cracked egg, squeeze, and then release the silicone top. The egg yolk gets sucked up into the chamber where it will stay until you're ready to dispel it with another quick squeeze.

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kitchen: HAPIfork picture
HAPIfork ($100)

People who eat slowly tend to consume fewer calories and weigh less than those who scarf down their food, say University of Rhode Island researchers. (20 Habits Skinny People Live By) Pace yourself with this high-tech, dishwasher-safe piece of silverware. HAPIfork tracks of the length of time between forkfuls and the number of forkfuls you eat per minute, then vibrates and lights up when you're shoveling food in too fast.

*Available Spring 2013

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kitchen: Prepara Herb-Savor picture
5/22 Prepara
Prepara Herb-Savor ($30)

Cooking with herbs is a great way to punch up the flavor of food without adding a ton of calories, but they don't survive long in the fridge. Extend their life for up to three weeks with this BPA-free storage container. It's made with a water well base that keeps herb stems hydrated and is designed to fit easily on a refrigerator door and the top rack of your dishwasher.

Video: Tips for growing healthy herbs in your kitchen

kitchen: Ronco Food Dehydrator & Beef Jerky Maker picture
6/22 Ronco
Ronco Food Dehydrator & Beef Jerky Maker ($40)

Next time you have a snack attack, trade fatty, high-sodium, high-sugar packaged goodies for healthy veggie chips and dried fruit snacks. This five-tray dehydrator lets you make your own granola, yogurt drops, raisins, beef jerky, or dried herbs to garnish soups. (Try one of these 4 Healthy Soup Recipes.) Just place pieces of your favorite food on the trays, and in as little as three hours, you've got healthy snacks ready to go.

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kitchen: Classic Measure Up Bowl picture
7/22 Measure Up
Classic Measure Up Bowl ($20)

Don't bother dirtying a measuring cup: Discreet rings inside this porcelain bowl--signifying a 1/2-cup, 1-cup, 1 1/2-cup and 2-cup portion--make sizing up the right amount of cereal, soup, pasta, or rice a cinch.

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Presto PopLite
8/22 Courtesy of Presto
Presto PopLite Air Corn Popper ($30)

With its high fiber and antioxidant content, popcorn might be the perfect snack--but microwavable varieties may counteract the health benefits with sodium and harmful fats. Enter Presto's PopLite. The gadget pops kernels with hot air instead of fatty oil, which allows you to enjoy a lower-calorie version of the movie-theater staple. Just add kernels and turn it on and you'll have a nutritious nosh ready in minutes.

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Beaba Baby Cook
9/22 Courtesy of Beaba
Beaba BabyCook ($120)

This adorable device turns fresh fruits and veggies into healthy, homemade baby food. (Search: How to make baby food) Just add the produce of your choice, let it steam for about 15 minutes, and then puree it to your desired consistency, all using the same machine. Bonus: You'll save a bundle by forgoing jarred eats.

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Precise Portions
10/22 Courtesy of Precise Portions
Precise Portions Tableware (prices vary)

We all know that portion control factors in big time when you're trying to maintain a healthy weight. That's where this dinnerware collection comes in. Decorative lines etched on Precise Portion's bowls and cups indicate how many ounces or cups you're serving yourself, so you won't go overboard with a heaping helping of cereal or ice cream. Likewise, painted-on boundaries divide the brand's plates into three parts to show you roughly what proportion of vegetables, meat, and grains you should have at each meal.

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Crock Pot
11/22 Courtesy of Crock Pot
Crock-Pot Programmable Slow Cooker (prices vary)

Instead of making nutritionally void, but fast-prep foods your go-to for a quick and easy dinner (we're looking at you, ramen noodles), pick up a programmable slow cooker. Before you leave for work in the morning, fill it with lean meats, beans, and veggies, set the timer, and when you get home, voilà--dinner's ready.

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Oil mister
12/22 Courtesy of Prepara
Prepara Tabletop Oil Mister ($20)

This little guy makes sure you never go overboard with fattening cooking oils. Use it to spray a thin, even coating on your pans and baking sheets. Add dried herbs to easily concoct your own flavored oils to spritz on salads.

The 6 Healthiest Oils for Cooking

Target Fruit Infusion Pitcher
13/22 Courtesy of Target
Target Fruit Infusion Pitcher ($20)

Being properly hydrated can put you in a better mood, make you more productive, and even speed weight loss. But if the taste of water bores you, try this pitcher. It comes with a removable, perforated cylinder (the infusion rod) that you can fill with your favorite fruit and place in the pitcher. Fruit flavors escape through slots in the infusion rod and seep into with your water, giving you something tasty to sip on.

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Trudeau Vegetable Steamer
14/22 Courtesy of Trudeau
Trudeau Silicone Vegetable Steamer ($13)

Prepare veggies without any fattening butter or oil using this flexible basket, which accommodates various pot sizes The silicone material won't scratch the bottom of pans or become hot to the touch, as metal tends to. Plus, its handles snap together, allowing you to remove vegetables with ease.

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Ice cube tray
15/22 Courtesy of Green Depot
Water Bottle Stick Ice Cube Tray ($7)

Need a cold drink for your workout? Use this ice cube tray to freeze stick-shaped cubes--the perfect shape and size for water bottles.

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Herb mill
16/22 Courtesy of Microplane
Microplane Herb Mill ($20)

It's easy to boost flavor--without adding fat--by using fresh herbs. But chopping the little leaves without bruising or ripping them can feel like more work than it's worth. Instead of struggling with knives that never seem to be sharp enough for the task, pop fresh leafy herbs like parsley, dill, cilantro, sage, mint, and oregano into this dishwasher-friendly mill. With a twist of your wrist, you'll have finely chopped herbs for flavorful sauces, seasonings, and more.

7 Salt-Free Ways to Flavor Food

cutting and defrosting board
17/22 Courtesy of Cooks Garden
The Cook’s Garden Cutting and Defrosting Board ($50)

When it dawns on you that you forgot to defrost the chicken, a trip to the nearest fast food chain seems like a quick dinner fix. Instead of opting for the easy--and fattening--way out, speed up the thawing process with this cutting and defrosting board. The baseboard is highly conductive of heat and "pulls the cold" out of your food: Place your frozen meats, veggies, or fruit on the surface and the defrosting process starts immediately. And when you're through thawing, snap one of three colorful cutting surfaces in place and get chopping.

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OXO Salad Dressing Shaker
18/22 Courtesy of OXO
OXO Salad Dressing Shaker ($15)

Mix, serve, and store salad dressings, sauces, and marinades in this chic little shaker. Made plastic that's BPA-free, break-resistant, and dishwasher-safe, the shaker features a wide opening so it's easy to add a variety of chopped ingredients like onions, peppers, and herbs. The screw-on top also features a lever that flips backward to pour and forward to seal so you can shake up your dressings without fear of spills.

The Best Salads for Your Diet

SodaStream Fizz
19/22 Courtesy of SodaStream
Fizz by SodaStream ($130 for seltzer starter kit)

If you prefer your beverages to be a bit bubbly, the Fizz lets you carbonate your own tasty drinks at home using unsweetened, zero-calorie "flavor essences" like lemon lime, raspberry, orange, and mint. For the occasional soda splurge, you can easily bubble up your favorites with less damage to your diet. Compared to Coca-cola, SodaStream cola has 66 fewer calories, 18 fewer grams of sugar, and 33 fewer milligrams of sodium. Plus, it feels good to go green. One hundred and forty-one billion beverage cans and bottles go to landfills each year--and it takes over 400 years for a plastic bottle to begin decomposing. SodaStream's bottles are reusable for up to three years and empty carbonators are returned to the company to be cleaned and refilled.

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OXO Food Scale
20/22 Couretesy of OXO
OXO Good Grips Food Scale ($50)

Whether you want to measure ingredients with greater precision or stick to a carefully portioned diet, this food scale is better than a sous-chef and packed with smart features. The large, brightly lit display pulls away from the base so it's never obstructed by a large bowl or plate. The stainless steel platform can easily be removed for cleaning. The tare function lets you offset the weight of a container or lets you set the scale back to zero so you can add additional ingredients without dirtying countless cups and spoons. What's more, a weight indicator shows the capacity left on the scale before the maximum (11 pounds) is reached.

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21/22 Courtesy of Juiceman
Juiceman Multifunctional Juice Extractor and Food Processor ($130)

Why pay for two when you can get it done with one? This combination unit handles all of your food processor and juicing needs without taking up too much counter or cabinet space. Featuring a 3-inch-wide mouth, you can feed fruits and veggies into the machine without a ton of chopping. The Juiceman is made of easy-to-clean dishwasher-safe parts, making cleanup a breeze.

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Aladdin food container
22/22 Courtesy of Aladdin
Aladdin Insulated To-Go Food Container ($15)

Nothing looks sadder than a sandwich in a Ziploc. Give your lunch a stylish new look with this smart BPA-free container. Snap-down latches prevent spills and an internal wall keeps your entrée and side dish separate. The 24-oz container is also double wall insulated so it can go from the fridge to the microwave--and wont burn your hands on the way out. Need more space for dessert? A smaller 12 oz version is also available for $12.99.

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