For some families, food is as integral a part of their lives and culture as their language or religion. We use food to celebrate momentous occasions and to comfort broken hearts. Unfortunately, many eventually learn that some of their favorite comfort foods are not promoting their heart health. We may never understand why some of the most delicious foods are also some of the most unhealthy, but we know that keeping a healthy diet is a key aspect of overall heart health.
Before we dive into this list of kitchen utensils, it’s important to note that your cardiologist should be a primary source for information regarding what kind of diet will work best for you. Some general dietary tips apply to everyone, but before you begin any new diet consult with your doctor. On a broad scale, we can confidently say that foods high in sodium or sugar, fried or processed foods, and diets heavy in meat and other sources of unhealthy fats are contributors to unhealthy diets in a lot of American households. With the rise of convenience food came a steep dip in overall nutrition.
One of the best ways to ensure that you and your family are getting the healthiest food possible is to cook it yourself. But, over the years we’ve learned from our patients that many households aren’t set up properly to easily prepare healthy home-cooked meals. If you’re ready to refresh your kitchen with some tools to help promote heart health, we’ve compiled a great list for you.
The Very Popular Air Fryer
The air fryer is all the rage right now. In case you’re new to this tool, it is essentially a small convection oven that can make some foods seem fried without ever having to use any oil. If you are a family that enjoys fried foods, this may be a great investment for you. Often these devices are small so not ideal for frying large quantities of food at once, but they work very well for small batches. A nice alternative to purchasing an entire air fryer is the air fryer lid attachment that you can buy for your Instant Pot. And since this appliance is so popular right now, the internet is packed with great recipes. The air fryer is only as heart-healthy as the food you cook in it, but if you’re ready to transition away from fried foods this is a great place to start.
Crockpots and Other Slow Cookers
People have been using crockpots for decades to create delicious meals for their families. The great thing about a crockpot is that it enables you to prep a meal in advance and come home after a long day to a perfectly cooked dinner. It’s the set-it-and-forget-it model that many busy families have grown to depend on. We’ve all been in the position where we get home at the end of a long day and are faced with the choice between taking the time to prepare a heart-healthy meal and reaching for the easiest option. When life gets busy, convenience always wins. If you want to put your heart health goals first, take the time to plan a heart-healthy meal in your crockpot before the craziness of the day threatens to take you off track.
Fun Veggie Chopping Tools
If you’re not used to cooking at home, the labor of prepping your fresh fruits and vegetables may seem a little overwhelming. Rather than standing at the cutting board after a long day at work, kitchen tools like spiralizers and vegetable choppers make food preparation easier and faster than ever. You know how important it is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, your heart health depends on it. If you want even less labor than that, check your local supermarket for pre-chopped vegetables.
Fresh Juice Maker
Next time you’re in the grocery store, take a walk through the juice aisle and note how much sugar is added into some of your favorite juices. As you pursue your heart health, cutting back on added sugars should be on the top of your list right next to eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. We have a way for you to check both of those boxes off with one appliance. These days people are juicing everything from their favorite fresh fruits to vegetables like celery and cucumbers. Investing in a juicer is a fun and engaging way to create healthy and tasty drinks for your whole family to enjoy. Plus, with the right tools, fresh juice can be turned into delicious popsicles or other frozen desserts.
At-Home Seltzer Maker
Do you have a love-hate relationship with soda? You love it when it’s filled with sugar and hate it when it’s plain? It can take some time for people to get used to the idea of drinking plain seltzer water, but it is a great way to ditch sugary soda drinks and improve your heart health. Rather than spending money each week on dozens of cans of La Croix, why not purchase a device so that you can make your sparkly drinks at home? The most popular brand of these seltzer makers is called the Soda Stream, but it’s not the only option on the market. And if you haven’t yet developed a taste for plain bubbly water, try adding some of your freshly made juice to give it a little bit more flavor.
There is no single kitchen appliance that can make you healthier. The items listed above are tools that you can use to reach your heart health goals more easily than ever before. Before you begin investing in appliances, make sure you’re ready to make a long-term commitment to your health. For more information about how to develop a diet with heart health in mind, follow along on our blog. If you’d like to meet one of our cardiologists, contact us today.