Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Myth: Kitchen gadgets for healthy cooking are too expensive to give as gifts.

Answer: BUSTED!

Gifts to others (or yourself!) that support healthy food preparation don’t have to be expensive. Here are some inexpensive and easy-to-find gift ideas and ways to use them for healthy cooking:

  • Non-stick skillet – Great for making the ultimate and quick ‘fast food’ – stir fry! Not getting enough vegetables in your diet? Stir fries are a tasty and quick dish and vegetables are the main ingredient.
  • measuring cups in a fun color or design, like these bright yellow cups, make for a fun, easy gift
  • Measuring cups and spoons – These handy tools help you measure ingredients and avoid putting too much fat or salt in a recipe. And they come in a multitude of fun colors and designs!
  • Pastry brush – Use this to coat pans with butter or oil so you use less. You can also use it to coat vegetables with oil before roasting – a nice way to use less oil.
  • A good knife – Are you finding yourself avoiding vegetables because your knife just isn’t cutting it? A good knife is a great asset in the kitchen.
  • Spice rack or small jars for spices and herbs – Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor with no salt. Use small jars so that you can try new seasonings in the bulk food section of your grocery store. Buying herbs and spices in bulk saves you money and assures freshness.
  • This small spice rack would make the perfect gift
  • Oil sprayer – This lets you spray your pan with exactly the amount and kind of oil you want to use. It also saves money because it replaces the cooking spray in your kitchen.
  • Hand grater – Grated vegetables make a salad look great. Add flavor in a subtle way when you grate carrots and other vegetables into salads and other dishes like soups and stews. And of course, you can use a grater to add some slivers of dark chocolate to your favorite dessert.
  • Air popper – Looking for a great snack without the fat? Air popper to the rescue! Instead of salt, add seasonings like garlic powder (no sodium in it), cinnamon, black pepper and other spices or herbs.

What healthy gift ideas do you have?

Visit the MissouriFamilies website for more information about nutrition and health.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, schusterer@missouri.edu, 573-882-1933

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