Kitchen Tips: 16 Picks for a Healthy Kitchen (cont.)

Big-Ticket Items

Here are some larger, more expensive items on my most-wanted list of kitchen items.

  1. Gas Stove or Cooktop

    Cost: Varies widely depending on type and brand.

    I think you can control the heat better with gas. This is important when making lower-fat sauces, which are a lot less forgiving than their high-fat counterparts.
  1. Convection Oven

    Cost: Varies widely, depending on type and brand.

    A convection oven uses a fan to distribute heat evenly as your food bakes, and it comes in especially handy for low-fat bakery recipes. You want to slightly undercook lower-fat renditions of brownies and cookies so you'll get the desired chewy texture. In my experience, you're less likely to overcook these items when using a convection oven. I put a convection oven/microwave in my test kitchen. My gas oven also has a feature that lets you use convection heat by flipping a switch.
  1. Indoor Grill

    Cost: Varies widely depending on type; up to $100 for a regular plug-in grill.

    Indoor grills produce a grilled look and taste for meats without the potential higher cancer risk from the charring and flame flare-ups you get with an outdoor grill. These come in several different types: the top-and-bottom plug-in grills like the George Foreman; indoor/outdoor grills; fancier stovetop attachments; and the kind that comes with a new stove. When I invested in my Dynamic Cooking System stove/oven five years ago, I had a lapse in judgment and chose the griddle feature instead of the grill. How many times have I fired up this big ole' griddle over the past five years? Zero. How many times have I wished I'd opted for the grill in the center of my stove? I've stopped counting.
  1. A Good Mixer

    Cost: Around $260.

    I totally rely on my hard-core, "I can't believe how much it cost" standup mixer. If you're trying to cook most of your meals at home, you need a good mixer so you can make your own baked goods, mashed potatoes etc. Don't get me wrong, a less-expensive hand mixer will do the job for some of your recipes. But it's nice to have a mixer with a whisk or beater attachment, and that is strong enough to take on bread dough or extra-thick cookie dough without missing a beat. Some of the weaker hand mixers would go out with a whimper.

Published May 26, 2006.


Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.



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