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7 Time-Saving Kitchen Tools for Healthy Cooking

Do you remember life before cell phones? You’d waste time searching for pay phones, digging for change, and worrying about your kids because you couldn’t contact them? Chances are, you have no interest in going back to the old way of doing things. I feel the same way in my kitchen.

As I’ve started eating healthier, it’s meant more meals at home and less foods from a box or a bag. At first, the extra cooking was time consuming and frustrating, but over time I’ve discovered tools that make cooking faster, easier, and way more fun. I can’t imagine life without them, so I’ve decided to share these precious gadgets with you. Each of these items will save you at least 15 minutes in prep time—and some will save you as much as 10 hours (thank you, pressure cooker!).

7 Gadgets That Help You Spend Less Time in the Kitchen

1. Rice Cooker

A rice cooker prepares your rice to fluffy perfection every time without you slaving away at the stovetop.

Did you know you can actually cook rice without a stove? You just need a rice cooker. Generally, it heats up faster, which saves you time and energy. Plus, it’s really simple. Just add rice and water, set the timer, and move on to your next project.

Time Saved: 10-30 minutes, depending on the kind of rice used.

How to use a rice cooker: If you’ve never used a rice cooker before, watch this video.

Recipes: This popular blog post features 9 weight loss dishes you can prepare on your rice cooker. Our favorites? The Mexican Wild Rice and the Lentil and Vegetable Soup.

Price range: $30 - $100+

I recommend this model: Aroma 20-cup Stainless Steel Digital Rice Cooker

2. Slow Cooker

The simplicity of throwing your ingredients in a pot and walking out the door only to return to a finished meal make the crock pot a lifesaver for the time-pressed cook.

When you’re pressed for time, a slow cooker can be a lifesaver. There are a variety of one-pot dishes you can cook entirely in the slow cooker also known as a Crock Pot. All you have to do is throw in the ingredients, set the timer, and dish out your breakfast, lunch, or dinner when you’re ready to eat.

Time saved: 30 minutes

Recipes: Here are 15 slow cooker recipes that will actually help you lose weight. The Split Pea and Brown Rice as well as the Lentil Taco Filling are staples around our house.

Price Range: $15 - $100+

I recommend this model: Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker

3. Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker uses pressurized steam to reduce cooking time from hours to just a few minutes.

This awesome kitchen gadget may win the award for biggest time saver. If you’re cooking dry beans and you don’t have time to soak them a pressure cooker can bail you out. Among its many other talents, this tool can take cooking dry beans from a 10-hour ordeal to a 25-minute simmer time, depending on your pressure cooker. How’s that for a time saver?

Time saved: Vegetables - 15 minutes. Grains - 10 minutes. Beans - 60+ minutes.

How to use a pressure cooker: If you’ve never used a pressure cooker before, watch this video.

Recipes: 6 Minute Mashed Potatoes
Pressure Cooker Black Beans
Barley Risotto with Mushrooms

Price Range: $23 - $200+

I recommend this model: Presto 6-qt Aluminum Pressure Cooker

4. Toaster Oven

Because it’s smaller than a traditional oven, a toaster oven heats up and cooks small meals much faster.

Let’s face it, most of the time we see one of these babies in the lunchroom at work. And they always look like something blew up in them, so it’s easy to miss their hidden worth.

The benefits of a toaster oven were truly revealed to me when I realized my mother could finish cooking some foods faster in the toaster oven than it took me to preheat my oven! This gadget is truly an asset if you only need to cook for one or two people. The small space means the oven heats quickly and evenly which gets dinner on the table in record time.

Time Saved: 12-15 minutes for something like a black bean burger

Recipes: Portobello Pesto Burgers

Price Range: $25 - $250+

I recommend this model: Black & Decker Stainless Steel Countertop Convection Oven

5. Blender

You’ll need a blender to prepare one of the most nutritious on-the-go breakfasts - a filling breakfast smoothie.

When I first started Full Plate Living, my answer to getting a lot of fiber at once was a smoothie. I made so many smoothies, I actually broke two blenders at the beginning of my journey. Needless to say, I’ve learned a quality blender really is key. As is moderation.

Time saved: Up to 5 minutes depending on the type of blender/mixer used.

Recipes: This post features 21 filling breakfast smoothie recipes. My favorite is the Chocolate Mocha Smoothie.

Price Range: $17 - $600+

I recommend this model: Oster Rapid Blend 8-Speed Blender

6. Food Processor/Salad Shooter

A food processor slices, dices, and shreds faster, without posing any threat to your fingers.

A salad shooter slices and shreds your vegetables straight into your salad bowl.

If you hate slicing, dicing and chopping, consider a food processor. You can shred cabbage, lettuce, kale, and other veggies in seconds, instead of spending tedious minutes doing it by hand. This takes the dread out of prepping healthy salads and entrees.

While a traditional food processor may have more options for sizes, the Salad Shooter only shreds or slices - but those two options go a long way. The small footprint makes fitting it in the dishwasher easy, and is storage a no-brainer. Plus, the price is budget-friendly.

Time Saved: Varies, depending on the task. 10 minutes shredding cabbage, lettuce, or other veggies. 5 minutes slicing and chopping veggies.

How to use a food processor: Watch this video to learn how to slice veggies. Watch this video to learn how to chop veggies. Watch this video to learn how to shred veggies.

How to use a salad shooter: If you’ve never used a salad shooter before, watch this video.

Recipes: French Grated Carrot Salad

Price Range: $30 - $400+ for a food processor, $30 - $50 for a salad shooter

I recommend this model: Presto Salad Shooter Electric Slicer

7. Immersion Blender/Hand Blender

An immersion blender allows you to mix ingredients in any dish without the mess of transferring the contents to a traditional blender.

At first glance, immersion blenders look like fancy tools only the most experienced cooks would dare try. Let me tell you right now how wrong that assumption is.

This awesome little gadget saves you a tremendous amount of time by allowing you to mix ingredients inside almost any kind of dish without the mess of transferring the contents to a traditional blender, which is a huge mess waiting to happen.

An immersion blender can also save you from getting burned by soup accidentally splattering out of a stand blender.

Time Saved: 7 - 10 minutes

How to use an immersion blender: If you’ve never used an immersion blender, watch this video.

Recipes: Creamy Black Bean Soup

Price Range: $15 - $170+

I recommend this model: Conair Cuisinart Smart Stick 2 Speed Hand Blender

Save Time and Sanity

There’s no gadget that can add more time to your day, but these tools are the next best thing. So let the rice cooker take care of the rice, while you take care of everything else on your to-do list.

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