Secrets of a Super Healthy, Clean-Eating Kitchen

Author´s image
About the Author: Victoria Abbott Riccardi is a journalist, photographer and author of Untangling My Chopsticks: My Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto.

This OXO Good Grips Fat Separator allows easy separation of fat and juices for leaner gravy.

This January, shed pounds without sacrificing flavor by adding to your collection of healthy kitchen tools! Here are my favorite cookware items for creating clean, great-tasting foods that help keep off unwanted pounds.

Bamboo steamer
A round, slatted, double-layer steamer, like this one from Crate & Barrel ($16.95), can turn out an entire dinner that’s lean and succulent. Skinless proteins, such as fish fillets or chicken breasts, can rest on the bottom level (closest to the heat), while vegetables lie on the top level. The covered steamer sits in simmering water and the vapors gently cook the food, locking in its natural juices, vitamins, minerals and flavor. Since steaming uses no fats or oils, your food contains no added fat — and your sink remains free of greasy dishes.

Nonstick skillet
This stainless-steel skillet from Zwilling, available at Sur La Table, has a Thermolon Granite ceramic nonstick surface that’s FDA-approved and that doesn’t contain unhealthy polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Depending upon what you’re cooking, you can crisp, brown and caramelize items with little to no oil. (Mushrooms and water-filled veggies need a touch of oil.) The cookware can go into the oven and under the broiler. Sizes include: 8-inch ($39.95), 10-inch ($69.95) and 12-inch ($89.95).

Gravy strainer
This plastic, heat-resistant and dishwasher-safe 2-cup OXO Good Grips Fat Separator ($9.99) neatly separates heavy pan juices from buoyant fat. The pitcher’s internal spout opening at the bottom allows the heavier juices to flow out, while the fat floats on top. A stopper prevents any gravy bits from escaping, while a top cover prevents the fat from sloshing out.

Panini maker
With two nonstick plates to prevent scorching and an adjustable top plate to accommodate various sandwich thicknesses, this Breville Panini Press ($99.95), available at Williams-Sonoma, creates crispy golden-crusted sandwiches with no added fat. The variable heat control even has a special “high sear” setting to insure a crunchy finish. The machine can be used to grill chops and steak and the ridged grilling plates also allow the fat to drip away.

Vertical poultry roaster
Slide the bird onto the metal cage portion of this upright Norpro Stainless Steel Vertical Poultry Roaster ($15.99), and as it bakes and turns golden brown, the fat drips out and collects in the attached pan. The result is juicy meat with no added fat (provided you use willpower and toss away that crunchy skin). Use a gravy strainer to separate the fat from the juice (see above).

Frozen fruit “ice cream” maker
The Yonanas electric countertop blender machine ($49.99), whirls ripe, frozen fruit — that’s it — into a creamy, naturally sweet, ice-cream-like dessert in seconds. Peeled, very ripe frozen bananas form the base of most frozen dessert recipes that can be enriched with the addition of other frozen fruits, like berries and pineapple chunks. (Some recipes even call for chocolate and red wine.) The machine is BPA-free and easy to clean.

What’s your favorite healthy kitchen item?