In an increasingly health aware culture, we all know the facts about maintaining a healthy diet, keeping active and living well. Eating as naturally as possible is the best way to ensure that you are consuming the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables, alongside all the other main food groups and keeping an eye on your fat and sugar intake. We all have our moments of weakness though; whether it be a long day at work or screaming children, creating homemade meals and snacks can be time consuming and often we turn to unhealthy convenience just to make do. Well, times are changing - here at the Emporium we would like to introduce you to some of our most useful kitchen gadgets that make creating healthy meals and snacks a piece of (sugar-free) cake! Saving you time and energy, these wondrous inventions will keep your healthy diet on track and give you loads of new ideas for some delicious recipes.
Healthy swaps for a healthier lifestyle
For those of you just starting a change to a healthier lifestyle, the NHS recommends some of these simple swaps to get you started:
- Starch – swap white breads and cereals to wholemeal or wholegrain, keep the skin on potatoes and include oats in your diet. These are all higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Dairy – If you would like to cut down on fat, swap to unsweetened semi, skimmed or soya alternative milks. The same goes for yoghurts and cheeses.
- Protein – Pick lean and skinless cuts of meat and include at least 2 portions of fish in your diet a week. Swapping meat for beans and pulses now and again is economical and extremely good for you too. Snacking on nuts and seeds is a great alternative but watch your portion size as nuts are high in fat.
- Fat – essential to a healthy diet in small amounts, so cut back if it’s something you indulge.
- Fruit and Vegetables – Aim to eat at least five portions a day, but get as many as you can in – they’re great for you!
Steaming your potatoes, veggies or fish at meal times is a simple and easy way to lock in nutrients that can be lost in boiling or poaching. If you’ve got the right tool, this couldn’t be easier. Steamers come in many different shapes and sizes and can be used on anything from the hob to the microwave. The microwave steamer by Sistema is a handy tool to get your meals cooked without fuss. Simply place your food on the removable steamer basket, which can easily be lifted out when the food is cooked, add a little water to the base and pop it in the microwave to do its thing.
If you prefer to use the hob, the traditional multi steamer is a great tool and usually comes with 3 tiers so that you can steam different foods all at the same time. Steamer inserts are another handy little gadget and they don’t take up much room in the cupboards to store. They can be simply placed inside or on top of one of your existing pans and voila! Ready to steam. Some of them can even be used with frying pans and woks.
A food chopper can cut out loads of time preparing your meals by simply doing all the hard work for you. Making it easy to whip up your own curry pastes, smooth soups, and dips like guacamole (Also, if you blitz up veggies small, you can hide them in sauces and the kids will never know!).
These tools are the ideal gadget for making popular carbohydrate-alternative ‘Cauliflower Rice’. If you haven’t heard of this trending phenomenon, then where have you been?! The latest way to cut out calories whilst still enjoying your favourite meals is made by grating or blitzing a head of cauliflower into a rice like consistency and gently frying or heating in the microwave. You can serve it alongside curries, chilli’s or throw in some eggs and veggies and enjoy guilt-free egg fried ‘rice’. The best part is that you can portion it up and stick it in the freezer – great for those busy days when every spare minute counts. Why not have a go for yourself? We love this Home-style Pork Curry with Cauliflower Rice recipe from BBC Good Food, with only 309 calories per serving it’s delicious and sin-free!
The original gadget for vegetable carb-replacements. A spiralizer can transform your favourite heavy pasta meals into lighter versions with ‘Courgetti Spaghetti’. These noodles can be made by hand from cutting thin slices of courgette into strips, or with the use of the spiralizer gadget - which makes the process almost effortless. Eat them raw or flashed cooked with your favourite Bolognese sauce, in a stir-fry or a salad. You can even experiment with your vegetable choice too; why not try carrot, sweet potato, or cucumber?
Spiralizers come in different shapes and sizes depending on the model you choose, but the basics of using any device is to top and tail your piece of veg (and peel if necessary) and rotate it through the blades to create the beautiful ribbons. Some of the larger devices will do most of the work for you, whilst some of the hand-held, smaller models may need a bit of your own elbow grease.
Olive Magazine have a wonderful recipe for Thai Coconut Courgetti Soup which is a must try. With a hot and creamy broth and lovely crunchy courgette swirls, you’ll completely forget how good it is for you!
Cutting back on convenience snacks like crisps and biscuits is a great way to help lose some weight and live a healthier lifestyle – but convenience is so tempting for us busy folks! Here to make life a little easier are gadgets like the Chef’n Quick Stick Snack Slicer, which easily and neatly cuts your vegetables into crudités, perfect for a healthy snack or packed lunch. It’s safe because the blades are kept away from fingers and it can just be popped into the dishwasher to clean. All of Chef’n fruit and vegetable gadgets are worth taking a look at actually. Most of them are dishwasher safe and really take the hassle out of food preparation.
Share your healthy recipes with us on any of our social media platforms; we're on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Reviews on our products are always welcome so we'd love to hear all about how you got on with these gadgets or if you know of any other little gizmos worth a try. And if you're new to the health kick, then good luck and eat well!