Seventy-seven percent of Americans would rather eat a meal at home than go out to dine, according to a new meal planning study by the online grocer Peapod. And with 53% of Americans resolving to eat even healthier in the new year, those home cooked feasts better be nutritious. Healthy cooking, or even healthier cooking, a project which often starts off with enthusiasm and ambition, can easily feel like a chore, especially if you’re a regular meal preparer and know how much simpler it is to boil a pot of pasta and call it a dinner. Luckily, inexpensive tech tools in the food space are making it easier than ever to make your favorite recipes a little healthier, and encourage you to cook on nights when you’re tempted to just heat up a frozen pizza. Add these gadgets to your kitchen arsenal for healthier meals at just the touch of a button.
Air Fryer Toaster Oven
2018’s “it” appliance, the air fryer is essentially a glorified convection oven, which uses very hot, circulating air to crisp up your ingredients, or “air fry” them. Use it to minimize the oil and grease in dishes you’d usually fry, like chicken wings, or to make healthier version of your favorite foods, like veggie chips. Cuisinart’s combination air fryer toaster oven can be used as both appliances, saving you space from having two separate countertop devices. $199.95, various retailers
The Instant Pot rage may have slightly died down since 2017 when it was the must-give culinary Christmas gift, but that’s only because so many homecooks already have one. If you haven’t gotten into the pressure cooking phenomenon yet, know that it’s perfect for those who procrastinate making dinner — grains, beans, meats, everything cooks faster in the pressure cooker, and so many healthy recipes can be concocted by mixing the ingredients in the (dishwasher safe!) inner pot and pressing a few buttons. Try recipes like the superfood breakfast porridge, a Keto-friendly crustless quiche and cauliflower steaks. Prices start at $79.95, instantpot.com
The best way to add flavor to any dish, sweet or savory, is with fresh herbs, which have nominal calories but will amp up everything from pasta (even whole wheat!) to eggs or just a bowl of fruit. This tabletop grower doubles as decor and is very easy to manage — just plug it in, add water when necessary and clip off herbs like basil, parsley, dill and more to add the extra layer of flavor to your home cooking. From $39.96, AeroGarden.com
Philips Viva Pasta Maker
You’ve heard it repeatedly — whole grain pasta is healthier and better for you than the white stuff, but rarely do packaged brown-hued whole wheat noodles taste as good as your classic spaghetti. Enter this almost entirely hands-off pasta maker, which can handle alternative flours including whole wheat, buckwheat and more fibrous varieties, mix them with egg, water and even veggie juice (for color) and extrude pasta in penne, linguine or spaghetti shapes. It’s so easy to use and the result is so delicious, you’ll wonder why you ever bought pasta by the box. $150, Amazon.com