6 Handy Tools for Healthier Cooking

Healthy cooking doesn’t necessarily mean eating bland or boring foods. You can always put a healthy spin on any of your favourite recipes to turn it into a healthier alternative. In order to do so, you will of course need the right equipment or tools for the job. Here we list six handy kitchen tools that make healthier cooking simple.

1) Cast iron skillet/griddle


While cast iron isn’t the best heat conducting material (it takes a while to heat up and it may have ‘hot spots’ before it is fully heated), it retains heat well compared to other metal pans, thus making it a great choice for grilling. Using this handy kitchen tool, you can grill a beautifully seared steak, braise, fry, and even whip up small portions of soup if you so desire.

For best results when grilling, make sure you prepare the poultry, meat, or seafood by marinating it beforehand. This will help to improve the taste when you grill it. You can make a simple marinade with vinegar, lemon juice, and add in some seasoning (e.g. herbs such as lemon grass, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cloves, coriander, etc.) to add flavour. Let the poultry, meat, or seafood sit in the marinade for at least 20 minutes.

2) Slow cooker


Using this handy kitchen tool gives you the option of preparing everything beforehand and letting it cook while you go about doing something else. Some modern versions will even let you program a meal far in advance; you can pop everything into it, turn it on and leave for work, then come home to a wonderful meal that’s waiting for you.

This handy kitchen tool is great for healthy cooking as you do not need to use a lot of poultry or meat to make delicious stews or soups. When it comes to vegetables, especially leafy greens, you should prepare them separately (you can steam, blanch, or microwave them) for best results as prolonged exposure to heat may destroy some nutrients, and add them into the mix just before serving.

3) Steamer basket (or wok filled with water and a pot stand)


As a cooking method, steaming is one of the best ways to maximise both taste and colour while retaining the maximum amount of nutrients. It is simple to do; just fill a pot (or wok) with around an inch or two of water, and bring it to a boil before placing your vegetables/ fish/poultry inside. Be sure to keep it covered at all times as you need the moist heat of the vapour to thoroughly cook your food.

4) Spray bottle


If you enjoy stir-fried foods, using this handy tool is an excellent method to reduce the amount of oil used. Rather than pouring oil into your pan/wok as you have been doing all this time, use a spray bottle to lightly coat your pan/wok. You will find that this is a very efficient way to oil the pan/ wok as you will greatly minimise the amount of oil used.

5) Blender


You can use either a regular blender or get an immersion blender in the kitchen. They are great tools for making smoothies, soups, and stews. While a regular blender can do the same thing and probably blend better, an immersion blender takes up less space and can be used to blend right in the cook-pot itself (yes, you can blend your soup or stew in the pot). Best of all, you can easily make creamy soups/stews at home which can easily give any classy restaurant’s soup a run for its money.


Regardless of the type of blender you get, having one means you can ‘sneak’ in all types of vegetables into your soup/stew, making it less likely that your kids will complain about eating their greens! Just ensure that the vegetables are cut into smaller cubes/pieces before it goes into the pot in order to facilitate the blending process.

You can also use it to make your own homemade fruit smoothies by freezing some fruits, then blending them with some yogurt/milk for a delicious and healthy snack.

6) Air Fryer


This handy device uses hot air to cook food and is a great way to cut down on oil use. If you enjoy deepfried foods, you can use this to prepare a similar meal but with a lot less oil. Some recipes may call for the ingredients (particularly foods like fries) to be coated with oil prior to air-frying; here’s where you can whip out your hand spray bottle to achieve the same results with even less oil!

Some recipes you can make include, fish and chips, French fries, crispy onion rings, roasted/toasted shrimps/ prawns, popiah/spring rolls, karipap, and many others. You can dish out a quick meal in minutes with minimal preparation time. This simple appliance uses hot air to do the job, which lets you quickly prepare tasty ‘fried’ foods using very little oil. It will also minimise the heavy smell of boiling oil in the kitchen, which means less odours to worry about, whether it is the air, your hair, or your clothes.

Striking a balance

Having these six handy tools will go a long way toward helping you achieve your goal of preparing healthier cooking. However, you should also remember to keep the following in mind when cooking:

  • Limit fats, sugars and salt usage.
  • Select lean meats, and use low-fat dairy alternatives in your cooking.
  • Each meal should be balanced and include vegetables, fruits, and wholegrain cereals.
  • Minimise the usage of processed foods that come with added fats, sugars, or salt.

An educational collaboration with Nutrition Society of Malaysia.

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