If you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape for your wedding, one of the most important things you can do is start cooking more of your meals at home.
It gives you total control over the ingredients you put into your body and makes it easier to avoid processed foods and eat a whole-foods based diet.
But when you’re a busy bride-to-be, I know it can be really tough finding time to cook, especially if you’re not already in the habit of it.
Believe me, I know . . . before I got married, I was working a full-time job, running my business on the side, helping my fiance plan our wedding, and trying to have a life . . . on top of being responsible for all our grocery shopping, cooking, and meals. It’s not easy.
And yes, there were nights when I threw in the towel and either picked something up on the way home or ordered delivery because I either hadn’t planned ahead or I was just too exhausted to cook that night.
And that’s okay . . . I’m not perfect and neither are you, so let’s just agree to do the best we can. If you’re new to cooking and aren’t in the habit of cooking every night, start out by making just one or two healthy meals a week, and keep it simple. Even that small change, over time, will have a significant impact on your weight loss and overall health.
To help you out, today I’m sharing some of the tools I use in my own kitchen that save me time and make cooking oh so much easier. Because just like pennies, a minute saved is a minute earned — and we need all the minutes we can get!
Note: This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
1) Good knives: If I had to pick only one thing to recommend to make cooking and meal prep easier, it would be a good quality chef’s knife. Once upon a time I thought it was insane to pay $100+ for a knife, and then I bought one and it changed my life in the kitchen. Seriously – you HAVE to have a good knife. Here are a couple of options for you:
Wusthof Classic Cook’s knife: My first good knife was a Wusthof, and I still have and use it to this day (it’s about 10 years old now). Worth every penny.
Ceramic knife set: Ceramic knives are incredibly sharp and a more affordable alternative to the traditional steel chef’s knife. I own this exact set and really love it. The one drawback to ceramic knives is they’re not as strong as a steel knife, so they can break if you’re cutting something really hard (like a butternut squash). I’ve never broken one, but it can happen.
2) The Breville All-in-One Processing Station is one of my most-used appliances and saves me a ton of time in the kitchen. It’s an immersion blender and food processor all in one. The immersion blender is great for making pureed soups or vegetables or blended drinks. The food processor makes chopping, dicing, mincing, shredding, and slicing SO much faster. Literally, in the time it takes me just to get out an onion, knife, and chopping board, I can already have an onion chopped and ready to go in this machine. This model even has a masher attachment (it’s the newer version of my model and I’m so jealous!). It’s compact and light, so it’s especially good for small kitchens. I seriously can’t say enough good things about this appliance. Plus Breville is a very high-quality brand and their products are built to last, so do yourself a favor and don’t skimp by trying a cheaper brand. I guarantee you will love this appliance!
3) A high-power blender is a MUST for making smoothies. This Vitamix blender is the one I own. They’re expensive and I really struggled with spending this much money on a blender, but I’ve had it for years and it has been worth every penny. You can get them at Amazon (that’s where I got mine), but if you have a Costco membership, you can usually find better deals there. You can also find certified refurbished models on Amazon that are less expensive. I don’t personally have experience with these, but I’ve heard they’re just as good as a brand new one.
I wanted to give you a more affordable option, so I did some research and this Ninja Master Prep gets rave reviews. I haven’t used it myself so I can’t personally recommend it, but I think it’s worth checking out if you’re on a budget or just not ready to invest in the Vitamix.
4) Cut-resistant mesh gloves are a lifesaver in the kitchen. They protect your hands and help prevent cuts from sharp tools like graters, knives, or mandolins. I’ve had mine a
long time and couldn’t find the exact brand I own, but this one seems to be the most highly rated on Amazon.
5) Leafy greens are a staple in a bride’s healthy diet, but they can be a real pain to wash and dry. Using a salad spinner makes it SO much easier and faster. This OXO salad spinner is the one I currently own. I’ve had it for years and it works great with minimal effort. That said, if I had it to do over again, I’d probably go with this one, since it’s BPA-free and mine does not say it’s BPA-free. I’ll probably upgrade soon to this one. BPA is a known hormone disruptor and something to avoid whenever possible.
6) Lemon juice is a common ingredient in healthy cooking, and lemon water is a terrific health booster. So, I juice A LOT of lemons, which makes this lemon juicer a must-have. It’s way faster and easier than doing it by hand, and gets more juice from each lemon. It’s one of those low-cost investments that you’ll really get high value from.
7) I love cooking with a slow cooker. It’s such a time-saver, and anytime I can “set it and forget it” in the kitchen, that’s a win in my book. I used to use this slow cooker which was awesome and also a good price. But then we discovered the Instant Pot and everything changed.
The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker all in one, plus it also serves as a steamer/warmer and a yogurt maker (unlikely I’ll ever use this feature, but it’s good to know I could make yogurt if I ever felt the need to). I like that it takes the place of two other appliances, and we’ve since given away our slow cooker and will probably do the same with the rice cooker. I was a total skeptic about the Instant Pot (plus a little scared of the pressure cooker), and it was actually my husband who made this purchase after developing a rather strange obsession with it. But I have to say, it was an awesome purchase! I’ve been amazed by what it can do and how FAST it is. It takes about an hour to cook a large spaghetti squash in the oven; I can have a fully and perfectly cooked spaghetti squash ready in the Instant Pot in 10 minutes! We don’t eat a lot of meat, but when we do, we love cooking it in the Instant Pot — it’s so fast and comes out really tender and delicious. And perhaps best of all, my husband has suddenly taken an interest in cooking and has made us several delicious meals in the Instant Pot. That alone makes it worth it! 😉
8) If you don’t opt for the Instant Pot and you eat rice and quinoa, then I definitely recommend getting a rice cooker. It makes cooking these grains so much easier, and you don’t have to worry about it sticking, boiling over, or overcooking/burning – just set it and forget it. This is the rice cooker I own, and I chose it in large part because it has a stainless steel liner (many of them have a non-stick liner, which can release dangerous chemicals into your food). There are many fancier models and they’re probably great, but I’ve been very happy with this simple and inexpensive model.
9) Digging around in a drawer for the right measuring spoon is a real time-waster, so I love these magnetic nesting measuring spoons. They stick together so they’re easy to find, and there’s a spoon on each end so you get two spoons in one — which saves time from having to wash the spoon if you need to use it for two ingredients.
10) Okay, maybe this isn’t a “must-have,” but my mom gave me this kale stripper for Christmas and I love it! It makes it so easy and quick to remove the stems from kale, chard, collard greens, and herbs. It’s really inexpensive time-saver.
So there you have it — 10 tools that will save you time in the kitchen and make cooking easier (and they make great Christmas or shower gifts!). I hope these will help you as you start or continue your own healthy cooking habit. And I love to hear about new kitchen tools and gadgets — tell me your favorites below in the comments!