Kitchen Gadgets that will aid your mission for Healthy Eating

We know what it’s like – we have been there all too often. Back in 2020 (remember THAT year?), you’d arrive home from the commute and look into the fridge to see not much looking back at you. Pre-packaged dinners, restaurant leftovers, a few other bits and pieces. So much for the healthy diet you promised yourself at the start of the year. Of course, as well as being a bit of a nightmare, 2020 was also the year when we engaged with the kitchen more, a fact that gave us more control over what we were eating and more time to prepare and plan our dietary schedules. In the same way, however, that a carpenter needs the necessary tools to do the best job so too does the enthusiastic/skilled chef. See below our handy guide to the best kitchen gadgets and gizmos that can change your eating habits from take-out to stay-at-home.

EASY SALAD CUTTING BOWL

When it comes to preparing food, salads can be time consuming – too many unmanageable leaves can get in the way of your fingers. The Easy Salad Cutting bowl, however, removes the problem of gathering all you require into one neat pile. The bowl isn’t your usual type, either. It has a series of protective open slots that make chopping, dicing and slicing the salad and/or fruit – anything and everything from lettuce, apple, cabbage, pear, cucumbers, celery, banana, beetroot, and so on – too easy for words. It’s perfect for anyone that wants to eat healthier and isn’t comfortable using a sharp knife. 

We found ours on fruugo.ie

HERB SAVER

And what, you may ask, is the herb saver? The professionals may be fully aware of such a healthy-eating kitchen gadget but what of the ordinary cook or wannabe cordon bleu chef? That’s the thing with herbs – you only use a small amount of them, so what do you do when you’re finished adding sprinkles or shavings of them to the food? The herb ‘savers’ we like the best are pod-shaped, with clear windows, a hard plastic casing and a filler cap for the adding of fresh water. These are perfect for preserving – for up to three weeks – the likes of thyme, sage, chives, parsley, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, basil, cilantro, mint and the rest. 

These nifty little gadgets are available from kuhnrikon.ie

SILICONE BAKING MATS

When it comes to cooking items in the oven, there was once a time when it was always messy – food stuck onto the baking tray, oils and fats staining everything. You were forever elbow-deep in hot water scrubbing off food detritus, and let’s be honest, it was never much fun, was it? Silicone baking mats, however, remove the hassle, the sticking, the soaking; they also scrub-up nicely, remaining unstained even after frequent use.  

We really like this one from Arnotts.ie

VEGETABLE SPIRALIZER

It’s a fundamental food fact: vegetables are extremely beneficial for your digestive system and an even better way to improve the nutrient concentration of any meal. The spiralizer is a much-favoured kitchen gadget, especially if you have children (or, indeed, adults) in your house that don’t view vegetables in a positive light. All veg (including those might not think of, such as parsnip, turnip, sweet potatoes, onion, cabbage, butternut squash) can be ‘spiralized’ and then used in casseroles, salads, entrées, desserts and appetizers. The best tip? Your spiralizer will come with different blade sizes, so carefully experiment first before you take the big plunge into making stir-fries, salads, and (substitute) pasta dishes. 

This one from Ballymaloe.ie is our favourite.

HERB SCISSORS

Enough of the salt, already! And slow down on the dried herbs and spices, too. What you need to add some flavour to your food is a sprinkling of fresh herbs – they really enhance the taste of any dish, be it roasts, salads, stir-fries, omelettes. Again, much like the cutting bowl item previously mentioned, herb scissors are ideal for use over kitchen knives, which – unless you’re a whizz at finely-detailed chopping – are problematical. The scissors have numerous (usually five) stacked blades on each side, so it’s handy for cutting your herbs to suit your requirements – from bite-size to garnish. 

We purchased ours from Arnotts.ie

SILICONE BASTING BRUSHES 

To make sure you don’t slather (and slather) oil and/or butter over your food prior to and during the cooking process, use these thick-stranded brushes to evenly and judiciously distribute. A good idea would be to buy several of them in different colours and specifically designate them to foods that would be considered high risk (for example, raw meat) for cross-contamination. 

Widely available nationwide. Our most recent one was purchased from Woodies.ie

3-IN-1 AVOCADO SLICER

Another one for cautious knife holders, this is as nifty a kitchen gadget as you can grab hold of. Of course, if you’re not a fan of avocado it might have limited use, but if you are then it’s the veritable bee’s-knees. It has a blade for slicing the avocado outer skin, a pitter for safe removal of the brown ‘stone’ (aka pit) and plastic blades to remove and slice the fruit. 

brownthomas.ie stock the JOSEPH JOSEPH Go Avocado.

FOOD PRESERVER

It’s all about the prevention of food waste in our house, which is why food preservers are an important constituent part of our numerous kitchen accessories. They are essential for ‘saving’ the likes of half a lemon, avocados, cucumbers, courgettes and similar. There are many products on the market but having tried out a few we like stretchable airtight silicone food covers and Beeswax Wraps the best. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they are also a toxin-free alternative to the dreaded intricacies of cling film. 

Irelands Beeswax Wraps have a super selection of eco friendly food preservation solutions.

POPSICLE MOLD

Okay, okay – no more salads. We understand! Sometimes, the perception of healthy eating is that it comes with an anti-excitement warning. Cue the arrival, then, of silicone ice pop moulds. These can be filled with your favourite yoghurt, juice, smoothie, or even coffee and tea (or even a variety of). Ensure you place them upright into your freezer, wait a few hours and savour the flavour at your leisure.

IKEA have you covered at just €4.50 for a pack of 4.

WRITTEN BY TONY CLAYTON-LEA

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