Whether you’ve just graduated college and are moving into your first place or want to focus on your health and wellness, it all starts with those essential kitchen gadgets and tools. Meal prep is a big part of eating healthy, so look to items that will help blend, chop and julienne your way to clean eating. No matter what your diet preference — vegan, paleo, gluten-free or omnivore — these items will make healthy eating a breeze.
1. Bento Box ($15): Upgrade your brown bag lunch with this dishwasher- and microwave-safe bento box that keeps foods separate and lunchtime fun. Not feeling the pink? It comes in three other cool colors.
2. Vitamix ($450): Don’t let the high price point of a Vitamix scare you away. You’ll use it every day, and your smoothie will never taste the same (in the best way!). You can also use it for nut flours, nut butters, soups, salad dressings and so much more.
3. Paderno Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer ($34): Turn your favorite vegetables and fruits into noodles with a spiralizer. Be sure to try one of these colorful spiralized salads with your new kitchen toy.
4. Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat ($25): You’ll never need to grease a pan again with a silicon baking mat. Plus, it’s earth-friendly (you won’t have to use aluminum foil or parchment paper to line your cookie sheets).
5. Aroma Bakeware Measuring Cups ($9): It’s easy to underestimate how much of your favorite snack you are pouring into a bowl without measuring it. These aren’t just cute, but they are also collapsable for small kitchens or even your desk drawer at work.
6. Blender Bottle ($10): This is a game-changer for your post-workout protein shake. No longer will you accidentally drink clumps of protein powder again!
7. Crock Pot ($30): You can’t use the excuse that you’re too busy to cook when you have a crock pot. A quick Pinterest search turns up hundreds of healthy recipes that will get you going on the clean eating train. Not sure where to start? Check out these easy crock pot recipes that take less than 20 minutes.
10. Food Processor ($250): Does the thought of chopping veggies make that salad or soup seem less appealing? A food processor takes all the hassle out of prepping those nutritious and necessary fruits and veggies.
11. Food Dehydrator ($65): If you follow a raw diet, a dehydrator is a must in your kitchen. Even if you’re not following a special diet, a dehydrator can help you make no-sugar-added dried fruit, fruit leather and even jerky!
12. Air Popcorn Maker ($40): Those rumors about popcorn being healthy won’t just be rumors with your own air popcorn maker. Skip the oil and have a bowl of fresh popcorn in just three minutes.
13. Juicer ($150): After just 15 juices, your juicer will have paid for itself! Put your CSA box or farmers’ market haul to good use to create green juices, fresh fruit juice and more.
14. Chef’n Salad Dressing Emulsifier ($15): Homemade salad dressings taste so much better than those bottled versions you buy at the store. Pour in all your ingredients, pull the trigger and have healthy, restaurant-ready salad dressing in seconds.
What items are essential in your kitchen? Let us know below in the comments.