Stocking your home with the right prep and cook tools is a key step in keeping those extra pounds away. You probably already own a food processor and blender, but here are some kitchen aids that make it easy to slash calories and fat, picked by Joy Bauer, Today show nutrition expert and author of the new cookbook Slim and Scrumptious; Lauren Deen, author of Cook Yourself Thin Faster; and celebrity trainer Kathie “High Voltage” Dolgin.
This handheld tool lets you whip up smoothies in the glass and purée soups right in the pot—a get-thin trick, since research shows that having low-cal soup before a meal helps you eat less. “I use asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and squash,” Bauer says. “They’re high in volume, low in calories, and you get that luxurious texture. Beans work well, too.”
It’s great for cooking vegetables without adding oil—and for keeping most of the nutrients. This inexpensive item “can also steam fish,” Deen says.
Fill it with canola or olive oil, and it will save you “significant calories,” Bauer notes. “Even healthy oils can add weight. For example, every tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories and 14 grams of fat. With a mister, you can cover the whole bottom of a pan with just a teaspoon of oil.”
This ingenious (and inexpensive!) invention removes the core and cuts apples into convenient wedges in a single stroke, so you can bag them up and take them with you. “It makes you much more likely to snack on fruit,” Dolgin says.
“I like it for grating cheese—you end up using less,” Deen says. It’s also handy for grating small amounts of chocolate. Bauer makes citrus zest with hers: “You can use the zest in banana bread, in sauces for fish, even burgers. It’s calorie-free but gives food a lot of punch.”
This makes it easy to chop veggies—no more excuses for not getting your five-plus slimming fruits and veggies a day. “I use it to chop carrots, water chestnuts, red bell pepper, and celery,” Bauer says. Unlike a food processor, it will also chop nuts without turning them into paste.
Invest in a good pair and keep them sharp: “They make it easy to cut the fat off chicken, trim vegetables, cut pizza, and snip herbs,” Deen says. The flavor of herbs, Bauer says, “more than makes up for what’s not going in your food—like butter and salt.”
Avoid overdoing it with these handy guides.
Nine-Inch Plates: In the last few decades, the average dinner plate has grown from 8 1⁄2 inches to 12 inches! Make sure yours are closer to 9 inches—about the size of today’s salad plate. “That’s my dinner plate,” Dolgin says. “If it doesn’t fit on a salad plate, I’m not eating it.”
Small glasses and espresso cups: Deen uses them to serve puddings and chocolate mousse: “They look pretty and satisfy your sugar craving—but you control the calories.”
Muffin tins: “You can make small quiches and portion out side dishes, too,” Deen says.