Nutrition: Home cooking

Essential tools to start cooking!

By Eric Chen, WAC Nutritionist and Wellness Coach

One of the most helpful tools when you’re trying to eat healthy is the ability to put together your own meal. I’m not talking about putting together a Michelin 3-star dish, but rather being able to combine simple fresh ingredients with basic cooking methods to create tasty and healthy meals. By doing some prep work in the kitchen, you’ll be able to control exactly what goes in your meals, regulate portion sizes, build healthy habits, learn more about food, and save money on dining out! Here are a few essential tools I keep around the kitchen to tackle 90 percent of my cooking needs!

  1. Cutting board and knives: A basic chef’s knife and two cutting boards—one for meats and one for vegetables.
  2. Cooking utensils: Wooden spoon, spatula, tongs, or cooking chopsticks for stirring, flipping and mixing
  3. Basic pots and pans: You don’t have to get a fancy set. A single sauté pan and soup pot do the job. Cast iron pans and enameled Dutch ovens are also extremely versatile!
  4. Colander or salad spinner: Try washing all your fresh vegetables (except dark leafy greens to prevent wilting) when you come home from the grocery store and strain or spin them immediately. This way they are ready to eat or cook with during the week.

Once you have the basics, consider buying The Food Lab—a cookbook written by former Cook’s Illustrated editor, J. Kenji López-Alt! It’s a great place to start for home cooks of all levels. You can also visit his website at Happy cooking!

—Published November 2, 2017


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