Gift giving season is here! Although we may be avoiding shopping trips, thanks to technology, gift shopping and gift giving don’t have to happen in person.
These days you can buy something online and have it gift wrapped and shipped directly to your loved one’s door. And even gift opening can be shared in a virtual visit!
More people have been cooking at home and if not, will likely have it on their resolution lists for the New Year. Cooking at home is easier and more efficient if you have the right tools and equipment. So give your family or friends a gift that will help them stay healthy this year!
A Blender or Food Processor
According to the CDC, only one in ten adults gets enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. Federal guidelines recommend that adults eat at least one and a half to two cups of fruit per day and two to three cups of veggies. Many of us fall short of that!
Blenders and food processors can take those big veggies down to crumb-size. This makes them easy to add to sauces, casseroles, meatballs and baked goods. It’s a great way to make sure your picky eaters get the nutrition they need. Prices range from $25 to $100, depending on the bells and whistles.
Pro Tip: Pre-chop your fresh fruits and veggies and freeze them, so they’re ready to go when you’re ready to cook. This works great for onions, carrots and minced garlic.
An Electric or Outdoor Grill
By cooking meat on a grill, much of the fat and grease fall onto the coals. This results in a lower fat content versus fried or pan-seared meats. Grilling also brings out the flavor in even the most flavorless foods. Foods that might be considered “boring”, like zucchini or squash, just seem to come out tastier.
If you have a grill, don’t be afraid to experiment. Pizza, grapes, and even cookies can be grilled for a special treat. And heat from the grill is great for roasting marshmallows!
Depending on the brand and size, a beginner’s electric or outdoor grill can cost anywhere from $50-$300. A meat thermometer makes a good stocking stuffer to go with the gift of a grill. It’s important to cook meats thoroughly inside. Underdone meat can make you sick.
Storage/Portion Control Containers
When you cook at home, the odds of having leftovers are pretty high. A good quality set of food storage containers that won’t stain, crack or break is important. Reusable glass containers are becoming more popular. Glass is more friendly to the environment and durable. It’s also safe to put in the microwave, so reheating leftovers is easy.
Studies show that portion control is important for anyone on a diet or watching what they eat. When presented with larger portions, people consume more calories than they think. Storing foods or leftovers in portion-sized containers can help.
Sets of several containers in different sizes, with lids, can cost anywhere from $10-$70.
Non-stick pans can help avoid adding extra fat and calories from oil and butter. Using a nonstick pan can save on calories.
But stay away from aluminum and Teflon products. The FDA warns that these can contain toxic chemicals called PFAS that may lead to long-term health problems. Instead, buy tempered glass, ceramic, cast iron or stainless steel. These can all provide a safe non-stick cooking surface.
Non-stick pans are available in a variety of styles and sizes, ranging from $15-$150 or more for a single pan. They are also available in sets of several sizes.
Use Your QuicRewards
Price ranges for each item from Amazon.com.
All information courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).