Is Your Kitchen Sabotaging Your Diet?

See how your kitchen's appliances and gadgets can help or hurt a healthy diet.

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How Not to Let Your Kitchen Sabotage Your Diet

It's one thing to buy healthy food. It's another to actually get into the kitchen, prepare it, cook it and eat it. And seemingly innocent appliances — not to mention dishes, cutlery and tools — may actually be working against you when it comes to healthy eating. Here, the mistakes you and your kitchen may be making — and how to fix them.

Beware the Deep Fridge

A giant refrigerator sounds like a great idea, but that much space can have unintended consequences. Anything that gets buried in the back may go bad before you eat it. So be especially careful with fresh produce. "Store cut-up fruits and veggies so they are visible right when you open the fridge," suggests Mary Howley Ryan, R.D., owner of Beyond Broccoli Nutritional Counseling in Jackson, Wyo. "Research shows we eat more of what is in sight and convenient."

Watch Out for Oversize Dishes (and Supersize Portions)

If you're trying to eat less, you might want to take a look at your dishes. Research has shown that people tend to pile on more food when they have a plate or bowl that has extra room. If you don't want to buy all new dishes, consider using salad plates for a main course and cereal bowls for your pasta.

Also see: Portion Sizes and Portion Control Tips

Break Out the Blender

Keep this handy appliance on the counter instead of tucked away in a hard-to-reach cabinet. That way, it will be readily available for whipping up healthy smoothies (a great way to use up any fruit or veggies that may be starting to wilt), purees and soups.

See: How to Make the Healthiest Smoothie

Don't Guess When Meat Is Cooked

Invest a few dollars and you can get a meat thermometer that will tell you not only when meat is safe (undercooked poultry can transmit salmonella) but also when it's going to be the tastiest. If you overcook that good-for-you piece of salmon, it will be dried out and much less appealing.

Cook in a Cast-Iron Skillet

A cast-iron skillet "lets you cook with less oil once your pan is well-seasoned," says Tara Gidus, R.D., sports nutritionist and team dietitian for the Orlando Magic. "And cooking with cast iron can leach some iron into your food, which is a good thing because 10 percent of American women are iron deficient."

See: 10 Things to Cook in a Cast-Iron Skillet

Get the Slow Cooker Out of Hiding

If a slow cooker makes you think of something your parents would have gotten as a wedding gift, it's time to reconsider. You can fill the appliance with healthy veggies — plus beef, pork or chicken — and let it slow-cook all day. "Having that meal cooking while you're at work and coming home to dinner ready is almost as good as having a personal chef," says Kristine Clark, Ph.D., R.D., director of sports nutrition, Penn State University.

See: Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes

Give Up the Deep Fryer

If you like things crispy, roll your chicken in whole-wheat breadcrumbs or cereal and bake it instead. "You'll get the crunchy taste you love without the fat to weigh you down," Tara says.

Buy a Mini Chopper

If you can't stand chopping ingredients, skip the cutting board and knife in favor of a mini chopper. That way, you can easily use nutritious foods like vegetables, onion, garlic and nuts to boost the flavor of meals.

Keep Spices Within Reach

Spices and herbs are a healthy addition to your food, plus, the flavor they impart can mean that you add less salt. But if your spice jars are gathering dust in the back of a cabinet, you're going to miss out on those benefits. Keep your spice rack where you'll see it when you cook, and plant a few easy-to-grow herbs (like basil, oregano and rosemary) on the kitchen windowsill.