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Business

May 11, 2014

Consumer Reports: Gadgets speed healthy meal prep

(Continued)

• Coffee grinder. Think of your electric coffee grinder as a mini food processor. Use it to finely grind whole pepper and other spices — a great flavor substitute if you’re looking to cook with less salt. Look for one that comes with settings for multiple grind sizes, such as fine, medium and coarse.

• Bamboo steaming basket. Steaming is a great way to cook fat-free and retain nutrients that can leach out in cooking water. And bamboo baskets are lighter, easier to handle and less expensive than metal ones. Cook healthy tip: Instead of zapping leftovers in a microwave, steam them in a basket.

• Grill pan. Using a stovetop grill is a lean way to cook burgers and other meat; the excess fat drips from the food into the grooves. Cook healthy tip: The pans aren’t just for meat -- they’re ideal for grilling veggies, especially sturdier bell peppers, onions and asparagus.

• Salad spinner. It’s the best and easiest way to remove grit from herbs and greens. Cook healthy tip: To avoid soggy salads, give those greens at least three whirls.

• Immersion blender. “An immersion blender whips in air and blends starchy veggies like potatoes and carrots into a creamy consistency, without the need for butter or cream,” says L.A.-based dietician Ilana Muhlstein, R.D.N. Bonus: Because you use it right in the pot, there’s no need to clean another bowl or a blender. Cook healthy tip: Swap a buttery roux for a russet potato.

• Slow cooker. It’s an easy way to cook nutritious meatless meals: simply toss veggies and beans into the pot. Cook healthy tip: Swap dried beans for some or all of the meat in slow-cook recipes for chili, stew, soup or curry. For each meat serving you want to replace, swap in a quarter-cup of dried beans.

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