Air fryers, slow cookers, bread makers, rice cookers

Want your dishes to be hassle-free and made efficiently? These are the small meal prep appliances dietitian Melissa Meier rates as worth the spend.

When it comes to the kitchen, nothing beats convenience. Sure, some people (like me) love nothing more than cooking up a storm for hours on end, but I know most people prefer to get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as they can, with as minimal fuss and mess as possible.

And that’s where small kitchen appliances come in*very* handy. Yes, they can be a bit of an investment – but some are definitely worth the outlay. So, if you’re interested in making your life easier (in the kitchen, at least) here’s five appliances I’d encourage you to consider.

Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.

1. Slow cooker

Using a slow cooker is as easy as one, two, three. You simply fry off your meat of choice, throw it into the slow cooker with veggies and any liquid you like (passata, stock, water, wine…), set the timer and a few hours later, voila – you’ve got a delicious meal on your hands. Slow cookers are particularly useful for creating healthy meals because you can pack them with veggies and avoid less-healthy cooking methods like frying. Plus, you’ll be less likely to opt for takeaway at the end of the day because your meal is already cooked.

2. Pressure cooker

Pressure cookers use the pressure of steam from the liquid inside the pot to cook food far quicker than your slow cooker or oven could. A quick google search will tell you that anything from risotto, curry and soup to lamb shanks, legumes and bone broth can be cooked in a pressure cooker. In terms of healthy eating – it all comes down to what you put inside, so keep ultra-fatty cuts of meat like pork belly and sauces with coconut cream for treats, and stick to lean meats and veg for everyday eats instead.

3. Rice cooker

I’ve burnt a few too many batches of rice on the stovetop to know that cooking rice isn’t as easy as it should be. A rice cooker, on the other hand, gets it right every single time, so it’s a no brainer. To make your rice a little more nutritious, I’d recommend opting for long-grain brown rice over short-grain white rice for two reasons. One, long-grain rice has a low-GI, which means it’s energy is released slowly, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Two, brown rice is a type of wholegrain and therefore offers far more nutrition than it’s white counterpart.

4. Bread maker

There’s something special about making your own bread at home. Not only does it fill your home with a glorious aroma, but you can upgrade your loaf with lots of nutritious additions. I’d recommend starting with a wholemeal base and adding as many different grains and seeds as you can for a healthy slice any day of the week.

5. Air fryer

Because who doesn’t love the taste of deep-fried food? Air fryers deliver a similar crispy result to deep frying, but don’t involve the copious amounts of oil. Instead, air fryers use just a fraction of the oil and a whole lot of hot air to create that much-loved taste and texture of deep-fried goodies. Air fryers allow you to recreate anything from deep-fried chicken, battered fish and hot chips to brownies with a healthier spin – so what are you waiting for?!

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.