With the rise of smaller apartments and bigger rent checks, it has become harder and harder to stretch your dollars into living expenses, with enough tucked away to eat healthily. Many healthy and cheap meals, like chili, rice and beans, and soups and stews all require an oven or stove, which can be hard to come by in some living situations. If you just moved into that studio apartment or dorm room that lacks a stove or an oven, or even if you feel unsafe using the oven or stove you already have, here are a few small, relatively inexpensive kitchen appliances you can add to your kitchen to making eating and cooking healthy more natural.
Crockpots are a great addition to your kitchen, especially for busy, on-the-go college students or young professionals. If you want healthy foods like chilis, soups, or even cheap takeout staples like beef and broccoli, but find yourself tired or distracted after work, a crockpot is an excellent addition to your kitchen. You can do a little bit of prep in the morning, toss all the ingredients in the crockpot, and leave it to cook when you head to work. If you’re really on a budget, you can find crockpots at garage sales and thrift or clearance stores. If you can afford to spend a little more money, though, try looking for crockpots through online retailers like Amazon. Smaller size crockpots, like those under two quarts, are a great, fitting addition to any small kitchen.
Like the crockpot, rice cookers allow you to set and forget your meals. If you want perfectly cooked rice, oatmeal, or even the ability to make your yogurt, a rice cooker is an excellent addition to your kitchen. Don’t like or can’t eat rice? You can make mac and cheese, apple cake, cinnamon rolls, and more in your standard rice cooker! As a bonus, if you live in a dorm, many universities permit you to have rice cookers, making them a versatile, safe way to cook some healthy food on your own. Like with the crockpot, look for smaller, cheaper sizes of rice cookers, ones that would be likely to fit in both your kitchen and in your budget. A six-cup rice cooker, complete with a steaming tray for all your veggie steaming needs, often runs you less than $20 total on sites like Amazon.
Sure, you could use your blender to make smoothies, but there are so many more recipes you can make with it. Lentil soup, homemade hot sauce, and hummus are just some of the off-the-wall recipes you can make with your blender! Blenders can be easily stowed in a cabinet, too, for those with limited counter space. Many smaller mixers are less than $20 in stores and online, also, making them a cost-effective addition to your kitchen.
Want tea, hardboiled eggs, boiled potatoes, or other simple staples? Try buying an electric kettle to boil, heat, and cook most simple foods in your kitchen. From oatmeal to pasta to soups, and everything in between, your kettle can be a great way to prepare some healthy staples with little fuss. However, keep in mind that some apartment complexes, residence halls, and other places where students and young adults live have restrictions on the voltage you can have in your electric kettle, (if you can have one at all.) If your residence allows it, you can purchase electric kettles that heat up to 7 cups of water for under $20.
Have other recommendations? Leave a comment with your thoughts!