Kitchen Appliances on a Budget



I know many people who are traveling, studying abroad and/or living in college dorms who ask me about eating in a healthy way. They also asked for suggestions about which kitchen appliances I recommend on a tight budget. My husband and I traveled around Australia for four weeks on our honeymoon with a very tight budget. We also had strict dietary restrictions and wanted to eat in a healthy way. So with our mini rice cooker/steamer and mini George Foreman grill packed away (cost less than $40), we ate very well in our hotel every day. Many nights we ate fish, steamed veggies and rice or quinoa.

Here are my suggestions for top kitchen appliances on a budget:

Rice cooker/Steamer: We use this 3-4 times a week! You can use this for rice, quinoa, lentils and even beans. My husband cooks chickpeas (from raw) all the time in our rice cooker. For our four person family, we use a small one that we bought for less than $20. In the steamer part you can cook vegtables and fish as well.  Estimated cost range: $13-$300 

Slow Cooker:  They come in all different sizes but for one person or a small family you can get away with a small 2 quart slow cooker. The great thing about a slow cooker is you can cook while you are away or overnight. We love to make stews, soups, beans, chili and curries. Here is a review of one of my favorite slow cooker cookbooks. My favorite slow cooker blog is http://healthyslowcooking.com  Estimated cost range: $12-$100

George Foreman Grill: This is great for making hamburgers, steaks, chicken breast, tofu, veggies, veggie burgers and fish. Estimated cost range: $18-$130

Optional:

Blender: I use my blender almost everyday to make my breakfast smoothies, nut “milks”, soups, sauces and my dairy free cashew cheese sauce. Estimated cost range $12-$500

Toaster Oven: You can toast, broil and bake in this machine, making this a great oven replacement if needed. Estimated cost range: $24-$250

You can get all these appliances for under $80. A cutting board and a good chef’s knife are also crucial. When it comes to eating in a healthy way, focus on eating fresh veggies, fruits, proteins (hemp seeds, hummus, nuts, seeds, eggs, chickpeas, beans, quinoa, lentils, tuna/sardines, meat) and whole-grains like wild or black rice, millet, amaranth or quinoa. The key to eating healthy on a budget is to buy local (yay Farmer’s Markets!), seasonal foods and in the bulk section, whenever possible. Beans, rice and lentils are very cheap are great healthy options that really fill you up, especially when you buy them in bulk and cook them from raw (they are healthier and taste better that way too!). Make sure to add spices to your food to enhance the flavor (and nutrients) of your dish,my seven staple spices are: sea salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, paprika (hot or sweet, depending on your preference), dill and parsley.  Hope this was helpful :)

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What are your favorite kitchen appliances and why?