Great holiday gifts for the health-minded home chef

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This is the time of year for gift giving and receiving. Whether you are the health-minded chef on the receiving end or you're giving gifts to others to help them cook healthy meals, there are some great ideas to consider this year.

First and foremost is the pressure cooker, or specifically the Instant Pot. I've written about the Instant Pot here before. It makes a great gift and, because it's recently been coming into vogue, it's a gift that most cooks will appreciate.

Pressure cooking food keeps the ingredients in the food as opposed to escaping in the steam that rises from boiling or simmering. And it keeps the food moist and tasting better as well.

I've found the pressure cooker to be as indispensable to me as the microwave is. In fact, it's so much so, I own two of them, and there are plenty of times when I use both at the same time.

Another kitchen appliance that can help improve the healthfulness of foods is the air fryer. French fries, air-fried vegetables, plantains and more can be cooked without using any fattening oil.

Air frying heats the food from all sides and leaves you with healthy food that tastes really good. Instead of oil, the great taste can come from the spices that get baked into the food.

Every kitchen has a blender, but sometimes you really need a blender that is high speed and really has a lot of power to blend up tough ingredients.

The Vitamix blenders are designed to do just that. I burned up several blenders before biting the bullet and getting a Vitamix. With the Vitamix, I have the peace of mind of knowing that the job is getting done right without worrying about burning up the motor.

A good chef's knife is essential to cutting up vegetables. Before I learned about using a chef's knife, I always used a serrated knife for everything. But that tore at the food, and it wasn't possible to chop food with that.

A chef's knife allows for chopping. I find now that with a high-quality chef's knife and a paring knife, I have all the knives I need to do whatever job I need to do. While I own a complete set of knives, I find that I no longer need the other knives. But then again, I don't cut bread, which is what that serrated knife is really intended for.

Enjoy the holidays and stay healthy. And start the new year off right with some of these kitchen gifts designed to keep you healthy throughout the coming year.

J Lanning Smith is a local freelance writer focused on the whole food, plant-based way of eating.

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