Probably the most essential thing you can do for yourself to create healthy habits, is to make those healthy habits easy and accessible. drinking lemon water every morning isn’t as easy or accessible if you have to slice and squeeze lemons every day (too hard?!). However, if you have lemons already sliced in a jar in your refrigerator, or a lemon squeezer like this one, it doesn’t seem so hard anymore. I know you’re thinking just use pre-bottled juice but it’s not of the same nutritional quality. Same goes for pretty much everything else. Below is my list of essential tools to help make food prep and cooking a breeze (mostly).
I in general happen to be very cheap when it comes to buying household items. I hate buying them. It just kills my soul because these items aren’t necessarily fun (with the exception of the Kitchen Aid mixer I still want). As I am becoming an adult human, I am starting to realize some items definitely are in everyone’s homes for a reason, and you should for sure have them…things like knives and a whisk.
- Cast iron skillet – Yes, buy one! They’re heavy as hell and may not seem useful (definitely harder to clean, but not too much harder) but they are absolutely the best for cooking veggies both on the stove and in the oven. The flavor of your food changes, and becomes more nutritious (thank you cast iron…see what I did there, don’t vomit!), potatoes get crisper, veggies cook more thoroughly and absorb the amazing flavors you’ve added in a beautiful way. I got this one, it’s my fav.
- Vitamix or another high speed blender – Sorry guys, regular store bought blenders really don’t do the job. If you wan’t the creamiest soups and sauces, the smoothest smoothies and milkshakes, the most fabulous fillings for cheesecakes and desserts, you have to have a high speed blender. I have a Vitamix I’ve had for about 4 years and it seriously changed my life. My food tastes so much better. Being vegan means blending a lot of nuts and other tough items into sauces.
- Citrus squeezer – I have the hardest time getting a reasonable amount of juice out of lemons and limes. It takes me forever, I get all messy, and I still don’t have enough at the end of my squeeze sesh. This squeezer gets all the juice, and takes about 2 seconds to use. Bonus: they’re super cheap.
- Good set of knives – I bought my favorite ever set from Costco, this set here. I’ve also had these. Both are amazing and make cooking so much easier and less dangerous (a dull crappy knife is super dangerous).
- Long-lasting utensils – These are my favorite. I bought them at Costco. I definitely recommend getting silicone utensils. They don’t melt to your pan (eeek scary) and they don’t scrape your pans the way metal does. I love my set.
- Mason jars or other preferred storage – I like to use mason jars to store pretty much everything. Meal prepped foods? Mason jar. Grains, beans, rice, nutritional yeast, etc all go in their own mason jars. It’s easy, they’re cleaner and safer than say plastic tupperware. I love them. They also double as drinking glasses when I refuse to do the dishes. They come in multiple sizes like these and these.
- Pastry Cutter – I also use mine as a potato masher, I don’t know if this is against the “rules” but I hate buying things when one thing will function well for two tasks. Also, hello, pastries! Crusts, biscuits, etc are so much easier to make with a pastry cutter like this one.
- non-stick pots and pans – This one’s pretty obvious. I personally just buy cheapies like these (make sure to stop using them if the non-stick coating starts to peel. Safety. Ceramic is also a good idea if you’re fine spending a bit more. These are so cute (I just might buy them).
- Mixing bowls – So it’s kind of ridiculous but I barely bought a set, I would just use other things like 5 normal bowls to mix stuff. Definitely worth investing in a set of 3 like this, so you can mix real things in higher quantities. This is a great affordable set.
- Measuring cups and spoons – Another obvious one. I used to just use my regular spoons, and guesstimate with the whole cup and quarter cup thing. I’m sure you’re a better human than me, and already have these.
- Strainer – Another thing I just tend not to buy (I don’t have one now but I shall soon). This makes pasta, rice, beans, etc so much easier. This set is perfect.
- Spiralizer – Make veggie pasta! Yum. This one is perfect for the hardcore spiralizer, this one for a more simple version.
- Grater – Great for faux cheese, cauliflower rice, ginger and spices, etc. I like these multi-functional ones.
- KitchenAid mixer – I don’t have one of these yet but can’t tell you how much easier life would be if I did. Hand kneading bread, mixing things that take forever, baking anything, etc would be heavenly with this bad boy. They are expensive (why I don’t have one yet) but if you can swing it, they’re worth it for sure. This one’s so cute.
- Baking pans and sheets – One of each size will do, like this set. If you can get a silicone sheet like this one, it makes cleanup a breeze and your baking sheet will last longer.
- Tofu press – A tofu press is really essential to getting the best texture and flavor out of your tofu. If tofu is too moist it won’t retain flavor as well, you really have to press it out. It also prevents that mushy texture that probably made you hesitant to ever try tofu in the first place. You can use a heavy object over plates, but it’s not as effective. A press evenly removes moisture. I use this one.
- Tea kettle – Herbal tea really makes the day go so much better. I like to have a stove top tea kettle always on hand like this one.
- Freezer bags – I always have a stock of freezer bags. I need them to freeze fresh fruit like bananas to use for smoothies and other recipes. I tend to forget I have purchased berries and fruit till they’ve already gone bad. This prevents that.