Kitchen appliances to help you rock the new year

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | January 22, 2014

If you are like most people, your New Year's resolutions began to slip a bit after the first week of January. It's understandable, after all: Lifestyle changes are tough to make. That's why you need help when you are trying to break those bad habits and move into a healthier you for the new year.

These four resolutions -- losing weight, reducing stress, getting out of debt, and spending more time with family -- are among the most common ones that fall to the wayside, according to TIME Magazine. How can you improve your chances of making the changes stick? It all boils down to your atmosphere, and that includes your kitchen. These kitchen appliances just might be the boost you need to keep those resolutions this year.

Cooking healthier means a slimmer you

Losing weight, the resolution that most of us renew every year, is often the first to fall to the wayside. That might be because creating healthy foods often takes more time than simply pulling into the drive-thru. To avoid falling off the wagon and ordering takeout, turn to appliances that help make life easier -- and healthier.

Start with the morning meal. Are you in the mood for smoothies but don't have the time to go through all the mixing that it takes to get there? High-quality blenders can almost make those smoothies by themselves. Try out the Vitamix for a wide variety of options; three Vitamix machines made the top ten in the Good Housekeeping list of best blenders on the market.

If you are just too tired to cook something healthy for dinner, turn to the slow cooker. These fantastic appliances come in a wide variety of sizes to suit any family, and they offer a number of bells and whistles, such as timers, automatic "keep warm" settings, and so much more. Good Housekeeping listed three slow cooking systems as the best: The Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker, the Calphalon Digital Slow Cooker, and the Ninja Cooking System.

Getting organized means less stress

A place for everything, and everything in its place. It's one of the easiest ways to reduce stress and make life easier, especially during those early morning hours when everyone is trying to get ready and out the door. What better way to stay organized in the kitchen than with a refrigerator that is built for the job?

For larger capacity and easier access on those busy mornings, choose a refrigerator with french doors and a bottom freezer. These options provide a large space that can be customized with movable shelves and adjustable roll-out drawers for various items. Want to go all out? Choose a refrigerator that offers custom temperatures for each section.

If you are overwhelmed by your fridge options, look to the three refrigerators rated best by Good Housekeeping: The Haier Cabinet Depth Refrigerator, the Samsung French Door Refrigerator, or the Whirlpool Gold Energy Star 25 cu. ft. model.

Stock up to get out of debt

Are you drowning in credit card debt? Is that mortgage a little too rich for comfort? Then it's time to make some big changes in the way you handle finances. One of the best ways to cut down on costs is at the grocery store. Not only can you stock up when things are on sale, use coupons like crazy, and make good use of shopper cards, you can also up the ante with a small freezer that allows you to buy in bulk when the prices are at rock bottom.

Though upright freezers might be more convenient, Consumer Reports points out that they lose about 20 percent of capacity in exchange for that convenience. Chest freezers might be tougher to organize, but they can save you money in the long run. Top models for both efficiency and size include Haier, Whirlpool, GE, Kenmore, and Frigidaire.

Spend time with the kids, not the kitchen

Are you toiling away in the kitchen while the kids are watching television in the den? Do you often miss the holiday festivities because you are too busy cooking? Spend more time with your family this year by investing in a few appliances that do the work for you.

Besides the aforementioned slow cooker, look to your oven to create meals that seem to prepare themselves. With options like separate compartments to cook foods at different temperatures, a warming drawer to keep things toasty, and convection settings for lovely baked goods, you can shave plenty of time off your prep routine. The Kenmore Elite and GE Profile are two of the Good Housekeeping top picks for ovens.

Make those resolutions stick

With some planning ahead, a lot of determination, and the right kitchen appliances, you can be well on your way to making this year the best year ever. So make another resolution, right now: To indulge in a few kitchen appliances that will not only spruce up your kitchen, but enhance other areas of your life as well.

About the Author

Shannon Dauphin Lee has been writing professionally for two decades on a wide variety of topics, including medical and health issues, education, home repair and relationships.