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The best gifts to help anyone eat healthy

Know someone who's tight on space but wants to eat well? These gifts are perfect for them.

Caroline Roberts Digital Editorial Intern
Caroline Roberts writes articles and notifications for CNET. She studies English at Cal Poly, and loves philosophy, Karl the Fog and a strong cup of black coffee.
Caroline Roberts
4 min read

We all want to eat healthy, but who has the time or energy to cook nutritious meals every day? When eating well means spending hours braising meat and painstakingly chopping vegetables, it can be hard to motivate yourself. That fast food on the way home from work just looks so much easier.

If you know someone who doesn't have a huge kitchen or a ton of time but still wants to eat well, these choices are perfect for them. Throw in a recipe book for the appliance you've chosen, and you have a perfect holiday gift.

Instant Pots are truly a one-stop shop to all sorts of healthy meals. Sure, it's a pressure cooker, but it's so much more. You can quickly bake desserts, sear meat and steam eggs. Say goodbye to letting stews simmer in a slow cooker for hours on end -- the Instant Pot will help you whip up delicious meals in less than an hour. The Instapot Duo is perfect for a college grad that's starting out in the world, or anyone who wants to eat healthy but doesn't have the time to cook.

Read our Instant Pot preview.

Read more: Why you should own an Insant Pot: 5 reasons, plus recipes and tips

An Instant Pot can make rice, but rice cookers are typically a lot smaller and cheaper, so if you're operating on a budget this gift may be best. Rice cookers can also make oatmeal and risotto, and some come with a rack that you can use to steam vegetables. With any rice cooker, you can even use it to simmer fruit with water or wine for a delicious and healthy dessert.

Size 4 quartsWattage 1,550Controls DigitalCooking modes Air fry, roast, reheat, dehydratePrice $120

We all love fried food -- why does it have to be so bad for us? An air fryer lets you have the best of both worlds by coating the food with a minimal amount of oil and circulating hot air to get a deliciously crispy effect. The method cuts the fat used by up to 75%, so you can enjoy healthier homemade wings, roasted vegetables and potato chips.

This model can fit 2 pounds of French fries, so it's great for someone who's cooking for a family (or just really likes fries.)

Read our Ninja Air Fryer review.

Who needs a boring blender anymore? It takes up precious space on your countertop, and can only be used for a handful of things. This immersion hand blender set acts as both a food processor and blender. The whisk attachment can beat eggs, cream, and anything else used in baking. It's small and handy too, so it can be easily stored while not being used.

Besides smoothies, you can make soup, hummus and refried beans -- all perfect for making a large bunch and saving some for later. If you know someone who doesn't like to chew (hey, it's hard work!) this choice may be great for them.

Who doesn't love pasta? Carbs in any form are delicious, but a great way to get more veggies is to swap out pasta noodles for them instead. With a spiralizer, you can cut any vegetable into noodle shape. You might've already heard of zoodles, a clever name for zucchini noodles, but you can also make pasta out of beets, sweet potatoes, carrots and pretty much any starchy vegetable. Many supermarkets sell pre-cut vegetable noodles, but making your own at home with a spiralizer is much cheaper.

In my opinion, the best part about vegetable noodles is that the healthy base frees you up to load your bowl with all the topping you want -- a pound of parmesan, anyone?

Read more: How to make veggie noodles with a spiralizer

For many people, a good breakfast is imperative to starting the day off right. But mornings are usually rushed and it's so much easier to grab a McMuffin than it is to prepare your own meal before work. With this mini waffle maker, you can cook all sorts of delicious breakfast items, including waffles, paninis and hash browns. It heats up in minutes, so it's perfect for those hurried mornings. And, it's sleek and tiny, so it will definitely fit in a crowded kitchen. 

It may not be the most healthiest breakfast you've ever eaten, but when you make your meals at home, you get to control exactly what goes into it. Whatever you create will almost certainly be cheaper and healthier than anything you could get in a drive-through. 

This countertop burner is perfect for someone who lives in an RV, a boat or a small apartment with no kitchen -- or anyone who just spends a lot of time at the office. With this cooktop, you can bring a functional stove everywhere you go. (Just make sure it's allowed first.) You can set the temperature anywhere from 140℉ to 460℉, so it can cook anything you'd usually make at home.

The one caveat of this gift is that you have to use cookware with a magnetic bottom, so make sure the recipient has a pan made with enameled iron, stainless steel with a magnetic bottom or cast iron. Or, you could gift some suitable cookware along with the induction cooktop. 

If you know someone who is anti-Instapot but still wants to get into meal prepping, a steamer is a great alternative. Steaming is a healthy way to prepare food without any additional oil. This model has two shelves, so you can steam fish, meat, eggs, vegetables and more at the same time for a complete meal. It also comes with a small rice bowl for all your carb needs.

This steamer is also helpful for someone who works all day but wants to come home to a freshly cooked meal, because the automatic warming setting will switch the machine to a "keep warm" mode once it's done cooking--er, steaming?

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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