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I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for about eight months now, and so far, I’ve lost just under 25 pounds while still eating foods I love (like pizza. Lots of pizza).
In that time, I’ve done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen — a feat made easy by the fact that I love to cook and have access to great tools and appliances. But some of those items come in more handy than the others.
When it comes to preparing healthy meals, there are a ton of gadgets advertising themselves as the “answer” to all your needs. I’ve tested a lot of them out (I mean, it’s literally my job), and most of them ended up being a complete waste of time. So I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of the gadgets and tools I actually use to help me stay on track when it comes to cooking and eating well. Some of them are as simple as the measuring spoons you already have in your drawer, but some might surprise you.
Whether or not you’re on Weight Watchers, the following tools might make a difference in your quest for healthier, more delicious home-cooked meals.
An Instant Pot
If you’re unfamiliar with the program, Weight Watchers uses a points system to help you track what you’re eating and balance your day’s intake — high protein foods, fruits, and veggies are all zero points.
Legumes like beans and lentils are all considered “free,” so as a vegetarian, I rely heavily on them to get enough protein through the week and keep my points in-check. I like to buy them dry because it’s much more cost effective and easier to impart flavor when you cook them yourself — but if you’ve ever tried to cook black beans from their dry state, you know it can be a full day-long process to soak and simmer them.
So instead, I batch-prep them using the Instant Pot’s pressure-cooking function, which only takes about 20 minutes. The first time I used it, I was completely dumbfounded at how easy and fast it was. Now, I often make a big batch of beans or lentils over the weekend and use them in different ways through the week to keep things interesting. I also use the slow-cooker function a lot for stews and soups.
Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multicooker, 3-Quart, $99.95 on Amazon
I love pasta the same way Oprah loves bread. Maybe even more, honestly. Regardless, it’s clear that both of us have a penchant for carbs, which can be tough (but not impossible!) to balance while on Weight Watchers.
One serving of spaghetti, which equates to a full cup or one fist-size worth of of cooked pasta, is 5 points on the program. This isn’t so bad, but the truth is that most people (myself included) eat at least double that amount before feeling satisfied. So to help me fulfill my craving without going overboard, I mix a cup of spaghetti with a whole spiralized zucchini (which I like to sautee with garlic and olive oil), and douse it with vegetarian bolognese or plain marinara. It’s super satisfying, and allows me to eat to my heart’s content without going over my point allotment.
Inspiralizer, $34.95 on Amazon
Ample meal prep containers
Having enough containers around is key to meal planning and sticking to your goals. It might sound like a lame excuse, but there were so many times that I tried to eat healthy and meal prep for the week but ended up failing miserably because I had no way to transport or put away the healthy foods I wanted to make.
I prefer to use glass containers instead of plastic because they last longer and never melt in the dishwasher or get stained. Just make sure to buy a large set.
Cocot Airtight Glass Food Storage Containers, 18-Piece set, $19.99 on Amazon
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SEE ALSO: The Weight Watchers app makes it easy to lose weight — I use it every day and I’ve lost 20 pounds in 8 months