With the word ‘fitness’ we usually think about healthy food and exercise. Most of us know about healthy foods that can help you achieve fitness but do you know that using kitchen tools effectively can also go a long way in keeping you healthy. This article gives an overview of kitchen tools that help in cutting calories and fat for a healthier you.
In India today, our food portions are all distorted. Many of us are unsure of how much we should be eating and many of us don't really know what a "normal" portion is. It is really easy to overeat in today's society with restaurants often serving twice the recommended amount.
Standard silverware spoons/tablespoons, plates, cups and bowls are not accurate for measurement because they all differ in size. And just "eyeballing" a portion can cause us to underestimate — especially in our own favor. Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of people underestimate what they are eating by as much as 40 percent.
Take the guesswork out of portion control by investing in some (or all) of these handy kitchen tools. Each of these tools will help you stay on track by being honest with yourself, leading to a healthier eating habits and will help you eat the correct amount of food, insuring you don't under or overeat.
Measuring Cups: Invest in measuring cups to help you portion out servings. Wet and dry ingredients, however, have different volume measurements, so they require different measuring cups for accuracy.
Measuring Spoons: Use measuring spoons for oils and fats such as butter, salad oil etc. It helps in limiting the intake of calories in the recipe thus keeping you fit and trim.
Small Glasses and Cups:
When it comes to glasses, researchers found that individuals pour more juice into short wide glasses versus tall narrow ones. Remember that when pouring juice or cocktail choose a taller, narrower glass but for water, choose the biggest goblet you can find. Many people mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated can help you avoid needless snacking. These small glasses and cups can also be used to serve puddings, kheers, sweet lassi and desserts like custards, chocolate mousse etc. They look pretty and satisfy your sugar craving—but you control the calories, thus maintaining good health.
Portion Control Plates:
To make portion control even easier, one should invest in portion control plates, which are plates that have areas sectioned off for each food group such as cereal, vegetables, and pulses/meat group. These plates are a valuable tool in helping people limit portion sizes for each food group. There are also different types of portion control plates for people with different dietary and caloric needs such as diabetics and children.
Nine Inch Plate:
In the last few decades, the average dinner plate size has grown from 8 1⁄2 inches to 12 inches! Make sure your dinner plate is closer to 9 inches—about the size of today’s salad plate. Studies show that the bigger your plate, the more likely you are to load it up with food but you'll eat less if you eat from a smaller plate. So, switch to smaller size plate or salad plate for your meals if you want to stay trim and slim!
Besides the tools for portion control, there are several other tools/gadgets that help you slash calories and fat and keep extra pounds away. They are:
Immersion Blender or Hand Mixer:
The hand mixer lets you whip up smoothies, milkshakes, lassi etc and purée soups right in the pot- A ‘get-thin’ trick, since we know that having low-calorie soup (with no fat) before a meal helps you eat less. Thus, blending cooked vegetables or beans to add bulk without extra fat calories is a cinch with this handheld blender.
The steamer is great for cooking vegetables without adding oil—and for keeping most of the nutrients. This can also steam fish and Indian preparations like idlis and dhoklas. Best way to slash calories is to own a steamer in your kitchen.
Oil Mister/ Sprayer:
Cut out unnecessary fat from your diet by using the Oil mister/sprayer. The tool gives you precise control over how much oil is used. Instead of drowning your in excess oil, the mister will simply coat it in a fine spray, which is all you need! Fill it with oil you use for cooking at home- sunflower, ricebran, olive oil etc, and it will save you "significant calories." For example, every tablespoon of oil has 135 calories but with a mister, you can cover the whole bottom of a pan with just a teaspoon of oil that has 45 calories!
Cutting fresh herbs can be messier than measuring out dried. The herb mill is a great tool for measuring out dried herbs. Why use fresh herbs? They give amazing flavor to food, so you can skip extra salt that causes bloating.
The grater is a very handy tool for grating cheese—you end up using less, thus restricting fat and excess calories. It’s also handy for grating small amounts of chocolate when needed. You can also grate carrots, potato, radish, lemons etc
The handheld chopper makes it easy to chop veggies—no more excuses for not getting your five-plus slimming fruits and veggies a day. Unlike a food processor, it will also chop nuts without turning them into paste.
Invest in a good pair of kitchen scissors and keep them sharp. They make it easy to cut the fat off chicken, trim vegetables, cut pizza, and snip herbs. The flavor of herbs, more than makes up for what’s not going in your food—like butter and salt.
Reusable Lunch Containers:
Sandwiches get boring fast. Use reusable storage containers to bring your lunch to work -- every day. Bring salads in them or fresh cut-up fruit so you won't be tempted by the vending machine. Freeze leftovers and pull them out of the freezer at a later date so you're not eating the same thing two days in a row. Say goodbye to greasy lunches and calorie-laden snacks and hello to a healthier, slimmer you!
Quality cookware often plays a vital role in cooking food that is healthy, hygienic and also tastier. Non-stick cookware is gaining a lot of popularity due to the demand for oil-free and low-calorie food in one’s daily routine. These are definitely expensive, but we could rely on them. Non-stick pans allow you to cook with little to no oil, which is essential for cutting fat from your diet. If you have to douse your pans with tons of oil or butter just to prevent food from sticking, you are already adding tons of fat that’s unnecessary and unhealthy.
Any smart weight loss program will call for plenty of vegetables, and a sharp knife will make all that cutting, chopping, and slicing much easier. Make sure you have a chef's knife, a slicer, and a paring/utility knife, plus a sharpener (dull knives make preparation work far less enjoyable). Armed with these, you can fill your containers full of cut veggies for easy snacking and to keep on hand as a healthy base for sauces, soups, curries and stews.
Food processors are similar to blenders in many ways. The primary difference is that food processors use interchangeable blades and disks (attachments) instead of a fixed blade. Also, their bowls are wider and shorter, a more appropriate shape for the solid or semi-solid foods usually worked in a food processor
Food processors normally have multiple functions, depending on the placement and type of attachment or blade. These functions normally consist of:
- Slicing/chopping vegetables
- Grinding items such as nuts, seeds (e.g. spices), meat, or dried fruit
- Shredding or grating cheese or vegetables
- Mixing and kneading dough
Thus, it becomes easy to have low calorie nutritious foodstuffs like salads, soups etc without spending a lot of time in its preparation. Also, since dough kneading is possible, intake of chappati/ roti can be increased.
A convection oven uses a fan to distribute heat evenly as your food bakes, and it comes in especially handy for low-fat bakery recipes.It can proof dough, bake cookies, cakes, pies, muffins and heat/reheat prepared foods in less time.
Although consumption of whole fruits is much better than taking fruit juice, yet many people go ahead and buy this tool so that they could have fresh juice as and when they want rather than depend on commercially available tinned or canned juices which have high percent of sugar in it.
Now you may be thinking that this list is long. There could be many more tools/ gadgets that could have been added here, but not every piece of equipment is necessary for everyone—unless you cook all the time. Then, the investment will be well-worth it in the long run because you’ll save so much money cooking that the equipment will more than pay for itself even in the short-run.