Why? Because blenders are great for making breakfast smoothies. You can toss in any kind of fruit – fresh, canned or frozen – along with cottage cheese or yogurt for your calcium portion, a handful of nuts or seeds for heart-healthy fats, and a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra flavor. Add a glass of crushed ice in the summer for a cool drink, or warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds on cold winter mornings.
A panini machine
Panini are sandwiches grilled in a machine that looks like an oversized sandwich toaster and that presses all the ingredients together. Panini machines are widely available and turn an ordinary sandwich into a real treat. Keep whole-grain bread on hand at all times (bread freezes well). When you can’t think of what to have for dinner, serving panini with various grilled veggies works beautifully.
The George Foreman grill
Although many kitchen appliances probably sit in a cupboard gathering dust, the George Foreman grill may become the one appliance that occupies a permanent spot on your kitchen counter. This device allows you to barbecue inside your house. The health bonus: a drip pan catches the grease, reducing the fat content of cooked meat, which also makes it easier to clean. One of these grills gives you the convenience of low-fat barbecuing during the winter months, when it’s too cold to barbecue outdoors.
A slow cooker
They’re perfect for making bean-based soups and stews high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Slow cookers are also ideal for simmering lean cuts of meat, which are healthier due to their low fat content, but also tougher for the same reason.
A kitchen timer
Set it for 30 minutes when you sit down to eat dinner, then eat slowly so that your last bite coincides with the ding, allowing time for fullness signals to make it from your stomach to your brain. Once you’ve finished eating, set the timer for 2 hours. If you’re really hungry when it dings, you can have dessert. Otherwise, pat yourself on the back.