With Christmas just around the corner, it’s not just Santa who is making lists. Over the years of my journey to a healthy lifestyle I’ve discovered some practical tools and gadgets that have helped me, made my life easier or more importantly jazzed things up and made life more enjoyable.
It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of buying a new gadget/toy, using it a couple of times and then it ends up in the back of a cupboard or even remains brand new in the box for months. So I try not to buy things on impulse but rather think about how useful it will be to me.
Given that the cost of these purchases can add up, for the more expensive items I tend to go for things that I consider an investment for my healthy lifestyle and with long term use I will get my money’s worth out of it.
Here are 10 of my absolute favourite things which I would no longer be without.
(Please note I am not promoting, advertising or recommending these products. These are purely my thoughts, based on personal use.)
1 . Kitchen scales – I bought kitchen scales at my local supermarket right at the beginning of my weightloss journey. Accurate portion control is important to following the Weight Watchers plan. I still weigh and measure my food, it became a habit and works for me.
2. George Foreman Grill – My family was given one of these grills as a Christmas present many years ago and it is now a permanent fixture in our kitchen. It is used by the whole family every day. As soon as one breaks down, we get a replacement straight away. It has significantly reduced our use of a frying pan. We grill all sorts of things in it, burgers, sausages, chicken breasts, vegetables and toasted sandwiches. Any fat in the food just runs down into the drip tray and you’re left with healthier, flavoursome food.
3. Day to a page diary – I’ve spoken before about how useful my diary has been to me. I have quite a collection of diaries now. Meal planner, shopping lists, receipe notes, thoughts journal, exercise notes, body measurements, it’s my healthy lifestyle record all in one place.
4. Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine – We have to have a little of what we really like in life. This machine has brought the coffee shop experience to my home and is more economical in the long term. I like to take a little ‘me’ time when I get home from work, enjoy a coffee and sweet treat before I start to attend to the demands of home life.
5. Weighted Fitness Hula Hoop – I absolutely love a dance workout with my hula hoop. I was never a hula hooper as a child and it took me several weeks to learn even to keep the hoop up for more than a few seconds, but it was a lot of fun trying. Now I’ve mastered it, I hula hoop all around my living room to my favourite tunes for 30-40 minutes a few times a week. As well as being a fun way to keep active, it has benefited my body shape, especially toning my waist, hips and legs. You can see my hula hoop in action here.
6. Electric slow cooker – A slow cooker is very convenient for making all sorts of dishes with minimum effort. Simply place the ingredients in the pot and let the slow cooker do it’s magic. It does require some advance preparation to put the slow cooker on 6-8 hours before the meal needs to be served. I use mine to make stews, casseroles, joints of meat, dessert rice pudding, etc. I have a couple of slow cooker recipe books containing amongst other things, slow cooker cake recipes.
7. Milk Frother – I purchased this little battery operated gadget online for a couple of UK pounds. I use it to make non-machine coffee with instant coffee. There is an array of flavoured instant coffees currently available in the supermarkets. After heating the milk, the milk frother gives it that light whipped texture of a latte or cappuccino. See my milk frother in action here
8. Fitness Tracker – Since starting my weightloss journey, 13 years ago, I’ve used a pedometer to keep track of my daily step count. My original pedometer was very basic, it clipped onto my waistband/belt and showed me how many steps I’d made in a day and the distance covered. My use of the pedometer was dependent on me actually remembering to put it on in the morning. After a while the novelty worn off and it ended up in a cupboard. Three years ago I became aware of the advances made in fitness tracker technology. I decided to treat myself and now I wouldn’t be without it. It is so motivating and I’ve never been more active. I have the wristband model, which I only take off in the shower (even though it is waterproof). You can set your personal targets and it tracks a whole host of satistics – steps, distance, active minutes, sleep, exercise, amongst other things. It syncs with an app and you can connect with your friends and join in challenges.
9. Spiraliser – These have become very popular over the last two years. There are some very fancy models on the market with price tags to match. I prefer to keep things simple and rarely buy the latest fad thing but I came across a handheld model at my local supermarket for a very reasonable price. It can be used to make vegetable or fruit spirals and ribbons. My favourite so far is courgetti, which I use as an alternative to spaghetti and pasta. See one of my delicious spiralised meals here.
10. ActiFry (Air Fryer) – This is probably my most expensive healthy eating investment. It has transformed my cooking life, allowing me and my family to enjoy healthy fried food. Chicken, meat, vegetables, chips, if you love fried food, you’ll love the ActiFry. It uses hot air to cook the food with a minimal amount of oil. It comes with a small recipe booklet which gives ideas of the dishes that can be prepared and there is also a recipe app available for mobile devices. In my opinion, a brilliant invention that is kind to the waistline. See one of my tasty ActiFry meals here.
So there you have it, these are the goodies I have filling my healthy lifestyle stockings. What will you have filling yours?