6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment

As a dietitian and a chef, there are certain kitchen tools and gadgets that I can’t live without. I realized when teaching my cooking classes that there are certain essential tools to keep in the kitchen to create a healthier kitchen environment.
6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness
By having these tools in your kitchen, you are setting yourself for success and creating a healthier kitchen environment. Utilize these tools to create healthier recipes and help meal prep for a healthy week of delicious food!
6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

(Every day) knives:

Two essential knives to have readily available in your kitchen is a chef’s knife, also known as a utility knife and also a paring knife.
A chef’s knife (sometimes called a cook’s knife) is the most important knife to have in your kitchen. It has a wide blade between six and ten inches long and is used primarily for chopping, though it can be used for anything you want to do. The blade of a classic, French-style chef’s knife curves upward toward the tip. A Japanese-style Santoku knife can be used in place of a French-style chef’s knife; it’s usually shorter and has a “sheep’s foot” tip, meaning the top of the tip curves downward. European manufacturers of Santoku knives add a Granton or kullenschiff edge, a row of hollow-ground pockets that prevent food from sticking to the knife’s surface.
A paring knife looks like a miniature chef’s knife, with a blade ranging from two to four inches long. It’s good for delicate tasks where a larger blade would get in the way. Paring knives are ideal for peeling onions, coring tomatoes or trimming vegetables.
Tip: Dishwasher detergent is very abrasive, and along with the banging around that happens during a wash cycle, will take the sharp edge right off your knife. Always wash knives by hand in the sink with dish soap and water.

Knife sharpener:

FACT! I dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife.
Make it a habit to sharpen knives each week. A small handheld sharpener does the trick, but electric sharpeners are great too. I like to use the mini handheld knife sharpener at home that has a coarse and fine blade sharpener.

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Microplane:

A microplane is also known as a zester. Adding a finely grated citrus zest is a great way to elevate flavor in any dish.  I also use my microplane for grating ginger, turmeric, garlic, dark chocolate, and hard cheeses.
Recipes to try using your microplane:
Crepes with a Strawberry Lemon Ricotta Filling
Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Meat thermometer:

My personal pick for a meat thermometer is always an instant-read digital thermometer. An instant-read digital thermometer is the most accurate. Despite the name, the display usually takes anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds to give an accurate temperature reading, but it’s still quicker than analog. This is a basic all-purpose thermometer. You can use it for meat, baked goods, anything that requires an internal temperature reading. (If you use it for meat, just make sure to sanitize the thermometer to avoid cross-contamination.) Using a meat thermometer can help avoid overcooking, keeping recipes juicy and flavorful.

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Salad spinner:

My salad spinner is used every time I meal prep. If your greens are cleaned, dry, and ready to use, you will be more likely to use them throughout the week. Salad spinners are versatile and can be used more than just for leafy greens. Use to wash and dry herbs, strain canned beans, rinse berries and hearty vegetables like broccoli.
Try a recipe that utilizes a salad spinner:
Squash and Wheat Berry Salad

6 Kitchen Tools for a Healthier Kitchen Environment #dietitian #healthyliving #healthyeating #kitchen #wellness

Glass containers with lids:

Make sure to have a variety of sizes (8 oz., 16 oz., and 32 oz.). These are essential for leftovers as well as storing pre-prepped foods. Glass containers are preferred to plastic – they are easier to clean, do not absorb food odors, and can be used to reheat leftovers.
Also, utilize mason jars. They are useful for overnight oats or making your own vinaigrette.

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Sheet Pan Miso Salmon and Green Beans

This sheet pan recipe has a special gut health ingredient – miso! Sheet pan dinners are becoming a staple for busy weeknights. Sheet pans dinners are versatile and can be mixed and matched with different ingredients and flavor blends.

Miso Salmon & Green Beans on a baking sheet

Gut Health:

More and more research is being studied about gut health and the connection to overall health. Some are even calling the gut a “second brain” as now studies are showing how much they continuously work together.
According to Harvard Medical School, a troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected. 

Why gut health is important

I’m sure you’ve heard about how probiotics support gut health. If not, probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. The body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep the gut stay healthy.

hand holding Miso Master Organic Mellow White Miso


Food rich in probiotics includes yogurt, kefir and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, and miso – the probiotic-rich food I used in this recipe.

What is Miso Paste?

In simple terms, miso is a fermented bean. Primarily, miso is made from soybeans, but any bean can be used. I use chickpea miso or white soybean miso often, just because it’s lighter in color and a more neutral flavor.

salmon with sesame seeds on a baking sheet

Varieties of Miso Paste

Diving a little deeper into the difference between varieties of miso, I consulted one of my favorite cooking resources, The Kitchn.

White Miso

White miso is made from soybeans that have been fermented with a large percentage of rice. The actual resulting color can range from white to light beige, and the miso has a definite sweet taste. White miso is best used in condiments like mayo or salad dressings, or in light sauces.

Yellow Miso

Yellow miso is usually made from soybeans that have been fermented with barley and sometimes a small percentage of rice. It can be yellow to light brown in color. Yellow miso has a mild, earthy flavor and is better for general use in not only condiments, but soup, marinades, and glazes.

Red Miso

Red miso is typically made from soybeans fermented with barley or other grains, though with a higher percentage of soybeans and/or a longer fermentation period. It can range in color from red to dark brown. The deep umami flavor of red miso can overwhelm mild dishes but is perfect for hearty soups, braises, and glazes.

miso salmon and green beans on a sheet pan sprinkled with sesame seeds

My go-to miso brand is, Miso Master.

Many have an understanding that probiotics are important for gut health and with cold and flu season upon us, the best defense may be good gut health, but the key to these helpful gut health bacteria is feeding them with prebiotics for the probiotics to flourish in the gut.
Prebiotics are a type of fiber. They are un-digestible plant fibers that already live inside the large intestine. The more food, or prebiotics, that probiotics have to eat, the more efficiently these live bacteria work and the healthier your gut will be.

Prebiotics are found in whole foods that are packed with fiber (aka. plants)! To improve gut health, a mixture of both probiotics and prebiotics is needed. Probiotics need to be fed (by prebiotics) in order to remain active and healthy and to benefit you as much as possible.

Bottom Line

Prebiotics (fiber) is the food for probiotics (helpful bacteria) to flourish, to improve gut health.

Let’s put it this way: It’s like you can’t out-exercise a poor diet. The same goes for gut health. You can’t consume more probiotics without consuming prebiotics to improve gut health.

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salmon and green beans on a sheet pan

Sheet Pan Miso Salmon and Green Beans

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Total Time: 22 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner

Description

Sheet pan dinners are becoming a staple for busy weeknights. They are versatile and can be mixed and matched with different ingredients and flavor blends. This sheet pan recipe has a special gut health ingredient – miso!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ¼ pounds salmon, sliced into even portions
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together miso, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic until smooth.
  3. In an even layer spread the green beans on the baking sheet. Make room in between green beans and place salmon skin side down. Brush salmon generously with miso mixture. Drizzle remaining miso mixture over green beans.
  4. Bake for 6-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon, until salmon is opaque in the center and can flake easily. Broil for the last 1-2 minutes.
  5. Garnish salmon and green beans with sesame seeds and scallions.

Keywords: dinner, salmon, sheet pan

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Disclosure: This recipe has been updated to be entered into the #CelebrateSeafood recipe contest.

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