Weighing In: Handy Kitchen Appliances

Each week, our own fitness fanatics Leah Polakoff and Caitlyn Kronket will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.

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Just because mom isn’t cooking her low-fat seasoned tilapia for you every night doesn’t mean that you have to resort to unhealthy college food (Are U Hungry anyone?). Living without a full-size kitchen doesn’t restrain you from living a healthy lifestyle. So instead of ordering take-out every night, take our advice on what kitchen appliances to keep handy for healthy, quick meals.

Having a small George Foreman grill or a Panini maker in your room are simple, cheap ways to make a home-cooked meal. Making a Panini with whole wheat bread, low-fat mayo and turkey is much healthier than grabbing a burger in Findlay. Or, throw some chicken and vegetables on the grill and make skewers. Invite some friends and you’ve got an indoor cook-out ready to enjoy.

When it comes to serving the meals you cook up on your grill, you need to remember that serving size is vital to maintaining a healthy diet. Keeping plates, bowls and tubberware containers with built-in portion sizes can help you figure out how much you should be eating. It’s also good to have measuring cups to ensure you’re eating the right amount. It’s crazy how many people overestimate serving sizes and end up eating twice as many calories as intended.

If you really want to impress your friends, use your Magic Bullet (a small blender) to whip up a fruity drink or protein shake after a good workout! Simply put some the ingredients into the cap and twist it shut, you’ll have a fruity concoction that will satisfy your sweet teeth in no time. (This is great for dorm rooms!)

Not in the mood for a mixed drink? Keep a Keurig machine in your room to make a quick cup of coffee or tea. We all know how hard it is to resist a venti double chocolate chip Frappuccino from Starbucks. Making your own will cut calories, fat and sugar while giving you the caffeine boost you need. Add an all-natural sweetener with low-fat or skim milk for flavor and you’re good to go.

Most importantly, don’t forget that dorms and small apartments are stocked with microwaves and refrigerators for a reason. Keep lots of cut up fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator for snacks in between classes. And for the nights that you’re rushed, re-heat last night’s grilled chicken.

So the next time you’re struggling with what to eat for dinner, keep in mind all of the possibilities. Happy eating!

Photo by Grace Shyu