Chefs Share The One Kitchen Tool That Helps Them Eat Healthy

These are go-tos you can rely on, from the humble lemon squeezer to the pricey Vitamix.
Chefs shared the tools they use for healthy eating.
Chefs shared the tools they use for healthy eating.

If you’ve set a goal to eat more nutritiously at home, then you’ll want to make sure you have the best tools to help you get on track. But you don’t need to fill up your kitchen with gadgets and appliances that aren’t helpful, effective and easy to use. So why not ask the experts?

We talked to health-minded chefs to find out what they use almost daily to help them eat as nutritiously and deliciously as possible.

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OXO Good Grips citrus squeezer
Sometimes it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. A simple metal lemon squeezer is a go-to tool for cookbook author and content creator Robin Asbell.

“I like to add fresh lemon juice to vinaigrettes, pastas and dips, because it gives every dish a jolt of tartness and vitamin C,” she said. “Having vitamin C added to greens makes their iron content more absorbable, so it’s a win-win of taste and nutrition. In the past, I used two tools — a lemon reamer and a strainer — but I upgraded to a lemon squeezer, which gets the job done in one step. I put the juiced lemon halves in a glass, add cold water and sip on fancy spa water as I cook.”
OXO Good Grips soft- handled garlic press
A sturdy garlic press is also within easy reach in Asbell’s tool drawer. “It’s helpful for adding garlic to any dish without having to mince, and you don’t get that garlic stickiness or smell on your fingers,” she said. “Garlic is a healthy antioxidant and immune booster, so anything that makes it easier to add it to your cooking is great.”
Le Creuset enameled cast iron signature round Dutch oven
“My Le Creuset Cast Iron Dutch Oven is a kitchen workhorse that helps keep me healthy,” said food designer Shelagh Mullen. “I’ve had it for 27 years, and cleanup is still a breeze. Plus, just lifting it is a workout."

“I’ve used it to make countless healthy soups and stews — and some decadent ones, too," she continued. "It creates the perfect simmer for an all-day chicken stock. These pots hold in the heat, and you can cook acidic foods, like fresh tomato sauce, without worrying about corrosion.”

The Dutch oven isn’t just for liquids, Mullen explained: “It’s also what I use to bake the most gorgeous gut-healthy, sourdough bread. I toss an ice cube into the screaming-hot pot, slide the dough in with a parchment sling and pop on the lid. Exactly 50 minutes later, I have a golden, crusty loaf of bread.”
Ninja BL455_30 Nutri Professional personal blender
A well-blended smoothie can be a good start to a healthy day, and our chefs have clear loyalties on the blenders they love best. “I’m obsessed with my Ninja BL455_30 Nutri Professional Personal Blender,” said Robin Selden, managing partner and executive chef of Marcia Selden Catering. “I begin my day with a protein smoothie, and this blender makes it so easy to do. I blend it in the 24-ounce cup, throw the pop-top on, and I’m on my way out the door.”

But while she praised its smoothie-making prowess, Selden said this blender does much more. “It’s awesome for blending soups, and I especially love it for gazpacho," she said. "I also use it for quick vinaigrettes and salad dressings. And, not going to lie, but there may have been some delicious skinny frozen margaritas I’ve made in my Ninja, too. The blades are so strong that they really crush through ice to make the best frozen cocktails ever.”
Vitamix Ascent Series smart blender
Other chefs praised the healthful options made possible with another blender brand: Vitamix. This brand is genius at making pureed veggie soups that help with eating more veggies, said Anna Klimmek, a chef, health coach and owner of Happy Food MN, a culinary wellness company. “Having those soups on hand helps curb cravings for savory comfort that I often get during cold winter evenings,” she said. “I also use it to make homemade nut milks and nondairy cheeses like cashew ricotta.”

But is a Vitamix worth the price? Chef Marshall O’Brien gives an unequivocal “yes.” “I tried other blenders, but I used them a lot, and they would always die out,” he said. “The Vitamix is very durable. I’ve had mine for more than 10 years and it’s still going strong.”
Dash deluxe electric air fryer
When you crave a comforting crunch without the grease, an air fryer can be a handy kitchen helper. Selden swears by her Dash Deluxe electric air fryer. “I get crispiness with little to no fat, and all in just a matter of minutes,” she said. “I can throw an entire head of cauliflower or broccoli, or a whole bag of mini sweet colorful peppers, in it for a few minutes, and everything emerges with a delicious texture.”

One of her favorite air fryer appetizers starts with a can of chickpeas. “You end up with these crunchy little protein-packed bites that you can season with specialty salts or Tajin seasoning,” she said. Her children especially love her air fryer Buffalo cauliflower. “I lightly spray florets with oil, and once they’re crispy and golden brown, I toss them with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce,” she said.
Cuisinart food processors (14 cup and 7 cup)
Speeding up prep time is a great incentive for cooking better at home. For Chef Rossi, owner and executive chef of New York caterer The Raging Skillet, a set of small and large Cuisinart food processors are the “secret ingredients” for many healthful meals. “In my early chef days, I remember killing myself chopping, smashing and mixing up the ingredients for a simple pesto,” she recalled. “A co-worker noticed and said, ‘Sweetheart, if you like suffering, there’s a lovely S&M bar down the street. If not, buy a food processor. Life is short.’"

“From the moment I brought my first Cuisinart to the kitchen, I was reborn, and there was no more mincing and moaning,” Rossi said. “I could make four quarts of pesto in less than 10 minutes. Hummus came together like magic. My vinaigrettes emulsified in seconds."

“Now, I can’t imagine my life as a caterer without my large Cuisinart, which I call my esposa, or wife, and my small one, nicknamed my esposo, or husband. Not only do they make my life easier, but I now find I can often actually leave work before sunset. Even in the middle of high wedding season, I can take a long walk by the river, breathe deeply and smell the flowers. Folks ask me what I do to stay trim and healthy. I tell them that my esposa does most of the work, so I have time to exercise and channel my inner child.”

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