Food is necessary for living. Many Americans, however, eat too much food that has little nutritional value. Those who cook and prepare their own meals eat better and save money in the long run. Some of those healthy meals you’ve been wanting to make may require kitchen appliance you don’t have. Kitchen appliances can easily get expensive and break the bank if you’re not careful. While it is fine to skimp on some kitchen appliances, there are others that are worth splurging on. By biting the bullet and splurging on these kitchen appliances, you and your family will be introduced to more healthful at-home dining opportunities than before:

1. A Food Processor

Food processors come in a variety of price points from cheap to expensive. Resist the urge to go cheap on these. When it comes to food processors, you get what you pay for. If you want a food processor that has the power to make bulk batches of something or do more than make pestos and salad dressing, a top-of the line model is required.

2. A Quality Cutting Board

As someone who cooks, you know how important a cutting board is. Finding a good cutting board can, however, be a challenge.  It can be hard to rationalize coughing up money on a cutting board, but in the long run you’ll spare yourself frustration, possible injury and even save some money. Cutting boards come in flimsy plastic to sturdy wood. The cheap plastic ones will warp quickly, needing to be replaced and they can be slippery, increasing your chances of injury. Wooden cutting boards look nicer and are sturdy, but their porousness creates a haven for germs and they are hard to clean. A polypropylene cutting board is a good option as it is light, non-porous and is dishwasher safe. Most have rubber grips on the edges to prevent sliding and, therefore, possible injury.

3. A Good, Brand-Name Mixer

One of the best brands of mixers out there is KitchenAid and with these mixers, you’ll be able to make a large batch of cookies or multiple loaves of bread in no time. These mixers also have additional attachments from juicers to pasta makers to shredders to ice cream makers that makes your cooking virtually limitless.

4. A Quality Knife

Cooking would be almost impossible without a sharp knife. If you’re like most people, you’ve experienced the frustration of trying to cut objects that only result in an unnecessary effort and mangled messes. Splurging on a kitchen knife that can last many years if properly cared for, will give you a more comfortable, relaxing and safer cutting, and therefore, cooking experience.

5. A Non-Stick Pan

Non-stick pan is a cook’s favorite friend. With these pans, you can get by with less oil and butter. They are also a breeze to clean afterwards. Sure, there are cheap non-stick pans out there, but their quality and durability are questionable. Low-end non-stick pans can scratch easily, not handle high temperatures and can release harmful chemicals when in use. High-quality pans can come with a lifetime guarantee, can handle extremely high temperatures, and are PFOA-free. Even when investing in a high-quality non-stick pan, it is important to refrain from using metal utensils as they can still scratch the pan surface.

6. VitaMix Blender

Vitamix blender may be the most expensive of the kitchen gadgets listed here averaging around $400, but this machine can do wonders for your food prep. Besides the basic functions of a traditional blender, the VitaMix blender can also do things like make peanut butter and cook soup. On top of its powerful motor, the company guarantees your VitaMix blender will work for at least 7 years.

7. Dutch Oven

This heavy-duty cast iron pot will hold heat in evenly making for perfectly seared meat and vegetable dishes. Dutch ovens are also easy to clean and are guaranteed to last a lifetime.

8. Salad Spinner

Salads are an easy way to include veggies with each meal. It can be a pain to wash and dry the lettuce. Today, most salads are prewashed multiple times so at-home washing is often unnecessary. The habit of washing and drying salad is a good one to continue. A good-quality salad spinner allows you to quickly and effortlessly wash and dry your salad. Cheap salad spinners, however, won’t work as well and will lead to more frustration than anything else.

9. A Reliable Slow Cooker

A slow cooker, also affectionately called a crock pot is an essential for any kitchen. As the name implies, a slow cooker prepares food over a long period of time over constant heat. This prevents food from getting dry and overcooked. Slow cookers can cook just about anything from soup and chili to pot roast and turkey. A high-end crockpot will feature a temperature control setting as well as provide additional settings for steaming and browning.

10. A Good Toaster Oven

When most people think of toaster ovens, they think of the cheap kind that only produces burnt toast. A quality toaster oven, however, will truly act as the mini oven they were meant to be. The pricier versions even have the capability to bake cakes and cook chicken.

Do you have these appliances in your kitchen? Are there any appliances that aren’t listed that you can’t afford to not do without? Let us know.

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