Ask the Experts: Favorite Cooking Tools

What do nutrition experts stock their kitchens with? Blenders, lemon zesters, ice cream scoops and crockpots -- find out what they use them for.
lemon zester

We all have our favorite kitchen gadgets and tools. I was interested to see what tools nutrition experts favor so I polled some of the top experts from around the country; it was interesting to hear what they considered to be their most prized kitchen possession.

This popular kitchen tool got two votes from the experts I asked. Lisa Eaton Wright, MS, RDN, LDN President and Media Spokesperson for the Illinois Dietetic Association said "A Microplane grater is one of the most time-saving, efficient kitchen tools out there! There are many uses for this tool, but I use mine to grate fresh garlic for sauces and vinaigrettes, for grating fresh ginger, for grating Parmesan cheese over soups and salads, for adding a chocolate garnish to my chocolate-drizzled angel food cake, for finely mincing hot peppers -- like jalapenos that I add to guacamole -- and of course my favorite use is grating lemons for all kinds of dishes to add flavor and zest, particularly to my homemade pesto sauce.”

Nutrition consultant and healthy food blogger Christy Wilson, RD also favors the Microplane grater. "I use it to zest limes, oranges, lemons and to finely grate fresh ginger or garlic. This infuses so much flavor into sauces, dressings and salads and the tool itself is small, easy to handle and affordable. I love it!"

Author of The Small Change Diet Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN loves using this lemon squeezer. "When I make fish I simply marinate it in fresh lemon and lime juice, olive oil, dill and parsley before grilling or broiling. This kitchen gadget is a time saver because it allows me to squeeze free of seeds, which would otherwise need to be hand-picked out of the marinade."

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RD, Director of Programs and Culinary Nutrition at The Culinary Institute of America explained "I'm not a big fan of tools designed for one purpose except for my garlic press. I love being able to pop a garlic clove off a head of garlic, place it in the garlic press, and almost instantly have minced garlic ready to use."

New York Times bestselling author, James Beard award-winning chef and nutritionist for NBC's " The Biggest Loser" Cheryl Forberg, RD said "Zeroll has a great line of ice cream scoops that I refer to in my recipes as "scoops". My favorite sizes are ½-ounce (1 tablespoon) and 1-ounce (2 tablespoons), and they go all the way up to a one cup size. I use them for everything from cookie dough and frozen yogurt to chicken salad. They're easy, neat and guarantees that everything cooks evenly (because they're the same size) but also that my portion sizes are standardized.

Clinical dietitian Gena Seraita, RD said, "My favorite kitchen gadget is my set of chef knives, which I use for every recipe, sweet or savory. I find it extremely cathartic to chop piles of veggies for a healthy stir-fry, salad or even just for snacking. I've also found them in fun neon colors, which makes them extra-special."

Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, FADA, CFCS author of the American Dietitian Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, 4th Edition and 365 Days of Healthy Eating (Wiley & Sons) claimed the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender as her favorite kitchen tool. "It makes the perfect quick to-go breakfast smoothie (yogurt, juice, milk, fruit, nuts), plus the blender cup fits in the car coffee holder."

Co-author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School Jill Castle, MS, RD is a mom of four kids who are busy with sports and other after-school activities. "I rely on the Crockpot frequently. I keep it pretty simple and use it mostly for cooking a pound of (dried) beans that I can then use in taco salad, burritos, tacos or as an entrée with rice. I also will cook beef in the Crockpot, shred it and serve with noodles and a vegetable, or shred the meat for pulled sandwiches or quesadillas.”

TELL US: What's your must-have kitchen tool or gadget?

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