A healthy kitchen helps create healthier people. That’s just the way it goes. It’s much easier to choose better options for yourself when you actually have the foods on hand to help you do so. You can’t eat what’s not there, and when cravings hit (as they surely will), nutritious, filling foods are essential to have at your fingertips. But foods aren’t the only part of a healthy kitchen that enhance success.  It’s much more helpful to also to have the right tools on hand in order to eat healthier. The good news is, you don’t need many, but having just a handful that you can turn to time and time again, will definitely be beneficial when you run out of ways to prepare your meals.

Fruits like apples, bananas, nuts and seeds, and even veggies like carrots can all be eaten as is, but sometimes, those options get old. You also can’t sustain on them alone. That’s where kitchen tools come in handy, not just for these foods, but for others too. So if you’re trying to eat a healthier diet and have already given your kitchen a rehaul, done the shopping, and checked out tips on transitioning into a healthier lifestyle, consider adding some especially helpful tools to your kitchen if you don’t already have them.

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These kitchen tools are not just for fancy dishes; they do in fact, inspire people to create healthier meals in just minutes to prevent boredom, deprivation, or temptation to slip back into old and unhealthy habits.

1. A High Speed Blender

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Quinn/Flickr

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While that old household blender might be a great option to start with, a high-speed blender can truly change a person’s life. We’re convinced of that. There are options all over the market, and some even start out as low as $150. Personally, We’re huge fans of the Vitamix and Blendtec as most people are, but you can also choose between the Ninja, the Nutribullet Pro or Nutribullet Rx, along with several other major brands that make high-speed blenders. These are not just blenders either; they’re kitchen masterminds that create soups, dairy-free sauces and dressings, breakfast puddings, homemade flours, nut and seed bars, dairy-free ice cream, and yes, of course, smoothies of all kinds. This not only keeps you away from processed options, but also requires minimal clean-up or prep time. You can even make vegan whipped cream, non-dairy milks, healthy cakes, wholesome muffin batters, nut butters, and many other recipes all in your blender. Investing in one of these is investing in yourself and your creativity for years to come. Many also come with 5-7 year warranties, making them much more than a kitchen trinket.

2. A Food Processor

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Chlot’s Run/Flickr

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Food processors are something people either love, hate, or leave in their pantry and have no idea what to do with. But these kitchen gadgets are especially awesome when you want to chop foods like garlic, onions, celery, carrots and zucchini, and don’t feel like pulling out the knife to do the work. They’re also great for getting everything in uniform cuts, which is great for dish presentations or recipes like salsa where you don’t want huge chunks of one ingredient throughout the recipe. Blenders can also be used to cut and dice, but foods often turn out more watery in a blender than a food processor. Finally, foods like energy bites and bars are normally easier to whip up in a food processor than a blender and require less stirring in between. Some people who don’t want to invest in a blender even make sauces, dressings, nut butters, and non-dairy desserts all in their food processor. You can also buy these small or large, depending on your needs.

3. A Ceramic Chef’s Knife

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Steve Hodgson/Flickr

Okay, really any large chef’s knife makes a great kitchen tool, but a ceramic knife is handy since it doesn’t cause your fruits, veggies, and greens to oxidize when you cut them like metal options can. This not only prevent color deterioration, but also reduces the metal exposure to your foods. You can purchase these online or at any specialty kitchen shop near your home. Be sure you choose one with a solid handle that also has a flat edge versus a slanted edge for more even cuts and easier to control cutting motions. These knives are especially helpful when making large raw salads, cutting fresh veggies to store in the fridge for the week for snacks, or when you’re cutting up fresh fruit to have for breakfast, snacks or healthy desserts where presentation is important. Having a nice knife is also a great way to inspire you to actually eat more healthier foods. Keep it out somewhere (covered and protected) so you won’t forget to use it!

4. A Stock Pot

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Jessica Spengler/Flickr

A stock pot is absolutely essential to any kitchen, no matter what foods you’re preparing. Not only can you make soups and stews with them, but you can heat up water for tea, warm up leftovers in them to prevent having to use the microwave, make oatmeal or other breakfast porridge recipes, and can cook just about any meal you can think of in them, with or without a lid (depending on the recipe). Be sure to choose one that’s not coated in aluminum and that will hold up well over time; you’ll be using it a lot more than you think!

5. A Great Set of Wooden Spoons

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Martha Russell/Flickr

Wooden spoons are timeless and impart less of a metallic flavor to your dishes than metal spoons do. (They’re also inexpensive too, by the way!) You can use them to stir, mash, sauté, blend, and stir some more! They’re also great to use as serving spoons for dishes like salads and other “loose” entrees. Wooden spoons also don’t get hot like metal spoons do when you use them to stir hot meals with, which can be a lifesaver for unnecessary burns. Plus, storing them out in your kitchen counter, perhaps in a mason jar, will inspire you to cook with them more often. Just be sure to wash and rinse right after you use them since bacteria can harbor in them when left dirty and wet too long. Use them to make dishes like soup, pasta sauce, oatmeal, broth, and serve up dishes like coconut yogurt, quinoa porridge, Avocado Chili Salad, Quinoa Carrot Salad with Zesty Lime and Ginger Dressing, or some homemade chia or chocolate pudding.

These five kitchen tools aren’t the only ones to help you eat well but will definitely help get you on the right track quickly. Other great ideas include a set of wooden or ceramic bowls for serving dishes and for storing fruits and veggies either in the fridge or counter, a juicer, a small paring knife, a mortar and pestle for implementing freshly ground herb and spices, a French press to make fresh coffee and tea with, and a cast-iron pan for veggie skillets or other entrees or for warming dishes in the oven. If you enjoy eating raw foods, you can also look into investing in a dehydrator, mandoline, and a spiralizer for even more options.

Each of us have our own list of kitchen tools that helped us eat more healthier long-term. What’s your favorite? We’d love to hear them!

Lead Image Source: Jodanna Slodownick/Flickr