They say that Abs are made in the kitchen. Well, technically that’s not true, you’re born with them but, what you do in the kitchen will go a long way towards you being able to see them again. Eating and drinking healthy will also have you feeling so much better as well as give you the energy to get through the day with a smile on your face.
The thing is, healthy eating can be difficult and time consuming if you aren’t really sure about what you are doing or don’t have the right tools for the job.
I would consider myself an ok cook and can make a decent meal, however cooking is definitely not something I am passionate about. I think of it more as a necessity than something I enjoy doing. I do like to eat well though, so it does pay to have some skills and having the right tools definitely do help with that. Nothing fancy (see number 10 to step things up) but everything I need to make quick, healthy and tasty meals.
So, bearing in mind this may be pretty basic for a lot of you (it’s Marty not Kelly writing this :)) here are my top ten “tools” for the job of getting things right in the kitchen.
The one thing we all need to do is eat more veggies but veggies first thing in the morning is not always palatable. A green smoothie with added berries though is a sensational idea. The Nutribullet is powerful, space saving and easy to clean which makes it a better choice that a big blender in my opinion.
My basic smoothie recipe? 3 parts frozen veg and 1 part frozen fruit.
2. Aarke Sparkling Water Maker
Dehydration is one of the biggest stressors on the body but let’s face it, plain water is boring and buying sparkling water is costly. Also, if you’re buying from plastic bottles it’s neither good for you nor the environment.
The Aarke will sit stylishly on your bench and make hitting your water goal for the day a lot easier.
Add some fruit (such as a squeeze of lime or sliced cucumbers or strawberries) and some electrolytes to take things to the next level.
3. George Foreman Grill
Yes, the George Forman is an old school classic but for me it just makes life so simple and I use it almost every night.
You can cook a number of things on here but potatoes are where it’s at for me. Be it Ruby Blue or Sweet Potato (Orange or Purple), simply cut a centimetre thick, add a tiny bit of olive oil or melted butter, some seasoning and salt and you are sorted.
4. Rice Cooker
Turn it on, add two-parts water to one-part rice and you are done. I have the Breville and it automatically turns off and will even keep it warm if you would like. Cold rice is fine by me though and is actually higher in resistant starch which has been shown to be beneficial for the gut.
Trust me though, this is 100% fool proof so if you love to multitask and are easily side-tracked then you will never have to worry about messing up your rice ever again.
5. Coffee Percolator / Machine
Who doesn’t love good coffee? Believe it or not I have found this simple coffee percolator to make just as good a coffee (the way I like it) as an expensive high-end coffee machine. I have a long black with a little bit of cream and this does the job perfectly. It sits on the stove top rather than dominating my bench like my old coffee machine. Bonus is I can also take it travelling and camping (especially to the US as their coffee is terrible).
It doesn’t do crema though so for a real coffee connoisseur then a coffee machine is the way to go but for a couple of hundred bucks as opposed to a few grand this is a winner in my books.
6. Quality Knife
It’s amazing how much easier and enjoyable prep work in the kitchen is with this bad boy. I have tried a few and currently use a Miyabe Japanese Knife that is the best so far.
“Combining the traditions and craftsmanship of Japanese sword makers with the excellence of German engineering, this Miyabi 5000FDC Gyutoh Chef Knife 24cm is an all purpose knife, use for all meats, fish, as well as slicing and dicing of fruits and vegetables.”
7. Stainless Steel Bowls
Easily overlooked (particularly if you’re a dude), but these are the best for prepping everything from a one-off salad to spicing or saucing meats to getting the potatoes ready for the George.
I will even use them to whisk up some chocolate brownies once a month. – You can’t go wrong with Noshu Sugar Free Gluten Free Brownie mix. Just don’t kid yourself, there are still lots of calories in here so once a month is plenty and don’t eat the whole thing at once like I do.
Easy to clean and make them large enough to prevent yourself from making massive mess in the kitchen. You definitely need to get yourself a couple at least.
So no, I don’t have a BBQ in my kitchen, but this is the best way to cook meat and chicken in my opinion, so I had to include it.
Quick, easy and it gives you the ability to cook all your meat for the day in one hit so it is definitely a must have. I even use it for cooking pizzas as it is quicker and easier than my pizza oven.
Shout out to Cheeky Brothers (Hector St W, Osborne Park Perth) for the best Gluten Free Pizza you can make at home.
9. Non Stick / Cast Iron Pan
Is there anything more annoying that having your food stick to the pan? I have heard great chefs use stainless steel pans but I’m not a great chef so give me the non-stick variety any day. I do throw them out after any sign of “wear and tear” though. No doubt a better cook would ensure they last longer but cooking is not a passion but rather a necessity, so it is what it is.
I also use an Aus-Ion Cast Iron Pan which is 100% non-toxic as far as I know and definitely lasts.
10. Other Options
Rather than give you a tenth item from my kitchen I thought I would give you some suggestions that other people mentioned. All of whom are much better cooks than me I would imagine. Like I said, I keep things pretty basic but if you want to step things up here are some pretty awesome suggestions.
“Thermomix (is one of my essentials) as I can make sauces, curry mixes, treats, soups, protein shakes and many other goodies from real ingredients with no. added nasties. No more heart burn or indigestion. Take it on holidays too. Can’t live without it.. makes preparing meals so much easier and quicker.” – Kelly’s Mum. And we all know Mum’s know best.
A suggestion from Kelly herself as well others and something I may well look to invest in as slow cooked meats such as lamb shanks and beef cheeks are amazing. The convenience of setting it in the. morning and having dinner ready when you get home is what Kelly mentioned was so great.
She also finds it convenient to cook up large batches of slow cooked chicken or beef- then turns it into pulled meat and keeps in a large bowl in the fridge over a few days. It can then be added to salads or veggies for herself or added to a gluten free wrap for her son’s school lunch.
These. Seem to have taken off over the past year and maybe when my George Forman Grill has had its day, I will try one of these instead. Similar principle of cooking without the need to overdo cooking oils or excess fats and calories.
On another note some other amazing feedback was “Good company, doggies and good food” are also essential.
This I love, as I used to think and say as a lot of trainers do, that food is simply fuel, but I now realise that it is not just fuel. It is so much more, and it is important to realise this.
Food is an opportunity to catch up, enjoy other people’s company, as well as give thanks and be grateful for how fortunate we are.
Take a few moments before each meal to be grateful or say a prayer if you like as doing so has actually been proven to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and improve digestion.
I hope the above makes it a little easier to prep your own meals so you can eat healthier and feel better.