Wednesday, December 28, 2011

10 Top Gift Ideas for the Health Conscious Chef

Christmas is just around the corner, and everyone is busy with putting up the tree, planning parties, and the most difficult task…deciding what to get everyone on their list.

If you have someone on your list who loves to cook, and in a healthy manner, there are several ideas for that someone special.

Cooking healthy at home can be easy with the right tools, equipment, and foods. I have found some great ideas for the health conscious chef on your Christmas list.

Slice, Dice, and Chop

When preparing healthier meals, it would be nice to be able to chop the carrots, dice the tomatoes, or blend the soup bases in a quick and easy method.

A Cuisinart food processor can do just that, and is a great addition to any kitchen that plans on serving healthy meals. Food processors work well for various food preparations, allowing you to easily make any dish, quickly.

Bake and Cook in Clay

Clay cooking vessels were used thousands of years ago, and are making an impressive return to kitchens today. The porous material of the clay pot is soaked in water, and then slowly releases a steam when it heats up while cooking.

Also, the natural juices of the foods are not allowed to escape, which in turn, seals in all the natural flavor and moisture.

I love mine. I find that when I cook meats in my clay pot, the result is a much juicier and tender piece of meat. As a bonus, cooking an entire meal in one pot is easy with these pots, resulting in less clean up.

Although I don’t have one…yet, the clay pizza plate is known for making the crusts of the pizza crispier.

Weighing In

Weighing portions has been recommended for a long time now, when it comes to eating healthy. But, there are scales now available that do much more than simply weighing your portion size.

With some of the newer scales, you can now calculate calories, carbohydrates, fat, sodium, cholesterol, glycemic index, and even fiber. These scales leaves nothing to guess work, so you know the precise nutritional value of your portions.

Give Your Veggies a Steam Bath

Steaming vegetables is perhaps the healthiest way to prepare them, with the exception of eating them raw. A steamer allows the vegetables to retain more of their natural nutrients than using a boiling method. The steamer will also keep your vegetables warm until you are ready to bring them to the table.

If you find a steamer that also doubles as a rice cooker, you have just doubled the work your gift can do for the recipient. Another steamer that is available is one that will steam all types of food, including meats.

Bamboo is In

Everyone who cooks will use a cutting board, and probably quite often. The risk in using some cutting boards that are available (and often used) is that they are a breeding place for bacteria.

Consider a bamboo cutting board. They are more resistant to bacteria growth, as well as scratches.

More Spice = Less Salt

When using various spices, you can often cut down on salt, if not eliminate it all together. Here are a few spices that any cook would enjoy having in their cupboard, but might not splurge on them:

·         Saffron
·         Cardamom
·         Real Vanilla
·         Spice Blends

Saffron, cardamom, and real vanilla are high end spices, and will be appreciated by chefs who like to cook with various spices.

Spice blends are a wonderful alternative to using salt, as long as they are loaded with sodium. Just check the ingredients before purchasing. I have several spice blends and rubs that I use often. I rarely add salt to anything I make anymore, unless the recipe specifically calls for it. And, my family does not miss it.

Keep the Leftovers Safe

A vacuum sealer is a great way to store food in the freezer. This allows for quick and easy meals on a busy day that you already know is healthy.

Take Its Temperature

Cooking meat can be tricky, especially if you aren’t a professional chef. If it’s under cooked, you run the risk of getting sick, yet over cooking meat can lead to dry and tough to eat meals.

A meat thermometer is an easy way to determine if the meat is cooked at the appropriate temperature. They are simple to use, and make a great addition to a chef’s collection.

Juice it Up

Juicers are a must have for those who love fresh juice. You can have fresh vegetable or fruit juice in just minutes, and get the benefits of maintaining all the natural nutrients without the added sugar and preservatives.

Make Your Own Yogurt

Yogurt is known for its nutritious value, and considered to be a healthy, guilt-free treat. A yogurt maker allows you to make your own with your favorite additions, and eliminate the preservatives that are found in store bought brands.

To Sum it Up

Many people are turning to healthier eating, or should due to health concerns. So, for those who love to cook, and are looking to improve their health, cooking tools that allow for that are a wonderful and thoughtful idea as a Christmas gift.

I have added some of these to my kitchen collection and not only enjoy working with them, but more importantly, the results.

Hopefully, you have been inspired with the information I have provided, either for a Christmas gift, or for your own kitchen.

Happy Holidays, from our home to yours!


Melissa Cameron is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything from family Cuisinart toasters, to parenting, to living frugally. She resides in Texas with her husband and 2 young children.

No comments:

Post a Comment