These are my first choices for weight loss kitchen essentials for easy meal preparation.
It's important to keep things simple and convenient, especially when your are trying to change habits.
One of the easiest ways to lose weight and get rid of that muffin top especially in midlife, menopause or perimenopause, is to make all your own meals at home.
Takeaways and packet meals often have lots of hidden sugar, salt and bad fats.
If you prepare all your food yourself, you know exactly what’s going in.
To make it easy to cook at home you need the right tools. In addition to the basics, such as pots and pans there are some items that will make eating healthy food easier for you.
For my first piece of equipment I’m going to get controversial. It’s not the Instant Pot that everyone seems to be going nuts over at the moment.
A tasty meat stew gets a lot of its flavour from caramelising the veggies and meat. From what I’ve seen in reviews the instant pot doesn’t get hot enough to get any sort of caramelisation happening. It also takes a while to get hot enough for pressurised cooking once the lid is on.
A pressure cooker can be finished before the instant pot even starts.
I for one won’t be paying good money for one when I can make a super healthy meal in a stove top pressure cooker like the one below. Or in my cast iron casserole in the oven.
I haven’t done so myself but it is possible to do all the things you do in an instant pot in a pressure cooker as well.
Although it is probably not advisable to make cakes regularly as the high heat can compromise the integrity of the pot.
Below I have given you two alternatives a not so expensive version and one with a few extras.
Cast Iron Casserole
If your not comfortable with dealing with the steam of a pressure cooker then I suggest you get something like this enameled cast iron pot. I have this exact same one. The prep process is the same but you stick it in the oven on low. If you have an automatic oven you can set it to turn off in a few hours and you'll have delicious stew.
These things are expensive but they look great on your bench top and if you look after it you'll have it for years.
This next bit of equipment I can highly recommend.
There is nothing nicer than setting your slow cooker going in the morning and if you are working from home smelling the stew cooking knowing there is nothing more to do other than bring the crock to the table and maybe do some quick greens to go with it.
My slow cooker recently had a painful death so I’m on the hunt for a new one.
I used to get my healthy meal ready the night before (really only some chopping and herb and spices) dand put the whole pot in the fridge overnight, bring it out first thing in the morning and let it lose the cool of the fridge then put it on low heat. Perfect for those cold winter nights.
I haven’t been that adventurous with mine but searching around on the internet there are some amazing recipes.
- Various desserts
- Deep dish pizza
- Hot chocolate
- Mashed Cauliflower
- And more
I don't have one of these but would love one, so it gets an honorable mention. I’m pretty sure by the time Iget around to passing over the money there’ll be a new model out.
One of these can effectively replace a blender, slow-cooker, food processor, standing mixer, soup maker, juicer, digital weighing scales and stick blender. But heck oh heck these things are expensive.
Those people I know that own them swear by them and you are saving all that space and cost of other items.
And your healthy recipes can come with it and be viewed on the unit itself.
Check them out at thermomix.com
High speed blender
One of these is super important if you, one, don’t have a thermomix (insert picture of sad face) and, two, you want to make energy smoothies, flours and meals from seeds or nuts, dressings, sauces, nut butters and more.
I have the Omniblend. I was hesitant about the huge price tag on the Vitamix so I did my homework and found the Omniblend which I have been more than satisfied with.
Salad spinners are a game changer when it comes to making sure your lettuce is washed and dried. Fill them with leaves or other veggies, rinse then spin to drain and remove excess water. Salad dressing coats dry leaves far better. And the colander can be used to store the vegetables.
This is the exact one I have. I love the big handle for spinning and it is easy wash.
Love love love this two in one vegetable peeler. It makes great veggie strips in a hurry that you can use like you would spiralised veg. Flip the peeler and you get julienne strips.
If you just want to make a single smoothie, or you’re blending some soup, maybe you're making a quick mayonnaise or creamed avocado.
You can blend right in the bowl, cup, pot, or pan you’re using, so there’s no extra cleanup. Use it for smoothies, tomato sauce, hummus, pesto, and veggie-based soups.
This is your go to piece of equipment and seriously doesn’t take up much room in the cupboard. Make sure to put it somewhere where you can grab it easily. Our’s gets used at about twice a day at the moment with a run on smoothies as the weather warms up.
Unfortunately if you are trying to keep carbs low noodles and pasta are something you should avoid. Luckily spiralized veggies are far more healthy and go with most sauces.
We’ve been having our zoodles with spaghetti sauce lately and seriously I far prefer them from the flour ladened alternative. You’re not left with that heavy bloated feeling. Lashings of parmesan and plenty of basil and they are pretty special.
Zucchini is the common choice with spiralizers but you can also try broccoli stalks and they are super yummy and you use the whole vegetable. Winning!
I bought my spiralizer years ago and the one I bought is no longer available but this is the one that seems to be very popular at the moment.
As I said earlier the thermomix can replace this but if like me your sit Thermomixless then a food processor is a must. You can slice, grate or chop. I love doing red cabbage sauerkraut and the food processor makes quick work of chopping up the cabbage.
Using separate cutting boards to guard against cross contamination is super important and how gorgeous is this one. It’s not what I have but I am so getting this when mine are old and mucky. I can store it on the bench for easy access.
When I go away on holiday I take the knife that I use every day to prep my veggies and everything else.
Global knives are durable, balanced and have a lifetime warranty. Great for chopping anything from melons to pumpkin with little effort.
If you aren’t keen to pay the price tag for Global, Vitorinox have a great alternative.
The Little Things
Slow Cooker Liners Who doesn't love things that save us clean up these are perfect to make clean up a breeze
Herb Saver I was spending fortune on herbs to be able to only use them for one meal before they were all brown and useless. You can keep your herbs fresh for ages in one of these. And I love that this one is glass.
Tea Infuser Oh my goodness this one is too cute. Baby Nessie. I love my tea infusers but I don't have this one and I'm ordering some today for stocking fillers. Of course most teas have some pretty good weight-loss benefits. Green tea is full of antioxidants as well as loaded with anti-inflammatory benefits, and what about totally improving your digestion with ginger tea and mint tea.
There are a few items that didn't make it to the list mostly because they weren't integral to preping healthy food for weight loss. Like my Breville Double Boiler coffee machine. I use it every day but it's not on the list.
As I am a firm believer in keeping things simple and decluttered in a minimalist way I could do with out the pressure cooker and slow cooker and just keep my cast iron casserole pot.
Or I could get rid of half of the things here and get the Thermomix. Unfortunately that won't happening for a while.