Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Dec 6, 2011 04:55 PM

Recs for heart-healthy cooking gadgets for gifting? $150 or less (ideally)

My Dad recently had a heart attack scare (VERY scary, but I'm very thankful it wasn't worse) and he's pretty fit (goes for a jog daily) but his eating habits could use some improvement... he's a big fan of excessive snacking, and could use healthier food habits (i.e. tends to buy high-sodium frozen vegetables, packaged cookies that are fairly high in saturated fat, etc) so for Christmas I'm looking to get him some cooking gadgets to make heart-healthy eating more fun/tasty and convenient. I'm thinking maybe a steamer? But that's not too exciting, so any ideas are welcome!

For reference: He does some cooking himself, but ideally it should be relatively simple & low maintenance to clean. He generally eats fish & some red meat, but doesn't like pork or chicken much.

As a side note, if anyone has healthy recipe ideas or even heart-healthy pre-bought snacks they'd recommend, I'd be grateful for those, too. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am in the cookware business. I cannot think of any appliance or cookware that is specifically heart healthy, It is more like what you cook with it. Some might say a Geo. Foreman grill,but not necessarily, If you are grilling something fatty it is still going to be fatty. Yes, it drains off fat but so does a broiler pan or a grill (charcoal or gas). Maybe a subscription to Cooking Light or Eating Well? From my own experience with my father, if he wants to eat healthily he will, if not there is nothing you can do about it. It is totally up to him. By now and with the Dieticians and Cardiologist he has to know what is good and what he should avoid by now. It is an issue you cannot force. Maybe one of the super induction Zojirushi rice and steam cookers might intrigue him. They are not inexpensive.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Candy

      Thanks, I totally understand your point re: the both cookware (vs. what you're cooking) & it being up to the person to make the commitment to eating healthfully or not... just thought there may be suggestions like steamers/grills/etc that would lend themselves towards healthier cooking. With my Dad thus far (it's only been 4-6 weeks) it seems more of a cluelessness (I'm frequently saying "read the nutrition labels" when I'm home) than a love of unhealthy food-- i.e. if I replace a better snack and toss a worse one he has, as long as he likes the better one he'll stick with it & buy it again, it's just that he won't make the effort/ initiate reading the nutrition labels at the store & seeking out the better one on his own :-/

      I like the Cooking Light/ Eating Well idea. Thanks again!

    2. When I read the title to your thread my first thought was a steamer. But you're already on that one.

      My next suggestion would be herbs or a window herb garden. He will likely be on salt restrictions and herbs (I think) are the best way to combat "bland food" when you can't have salt.

      Maybe even a kit for growing your own sprouts. I know not super exciting but I love sprouts and they are so easy to grow at home with all different kinds of vegetable seeds. I think there are kits out there.

      I wish him well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: thimes

        Thanks! I like the idea of a window herb garden in the spring :) Also could be good bc he likes flavored drinks (again that sodium!) but fresh mint tea would be a tasty alternative.

      2. I agree with Candy and thimes. Cookware at the end are tools. It is the foods which count. That being said, there are health-ier way to prepare foods like the steamer you have thought of. Thimes' suggestion of a herb garden is wonderful as it will encourage him to use more herb and therefore less salt.

        What type of cookware do your dad use? I am going to suggest something strange on the surface. Get him a few Teflon/nonstick cookware. Yes, I know a lot of people view Teflon in suspicion, but the fact is that you can cook with less oil with a nonstick pan than any other cookware. Less oil is a good thing. He needs to cut down the beef though.

        Does your dad have high blood pressure? Soy bean is known to have ability to lower blood pressure for chronic dosing:

        Do you think he would like soy milk? If so, how about a soy milk machine for freshly made soy milk -- although it may be easier just to buy soy milk.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Your posts are always very helpful and thought out, so please don't take this as trolling but you suggest he trade lowering his blood pressure for a daily estrogen boost?

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I think a good non stick skillet is an excellent gift for someone who has to cook lowfat.

            If I understand this, soy is no longer favored for health as it once was.

          2. I'm married to a man that has had multiple heart attacks and bypass surgery and honestly I can't suggest anything useful. A steamer is useless unless he actually likes steamed food and will use it. Same as any other item.

            I agree with the post suggesting one of the Zojirushi rice cookers that have a gaba rice function but only if your dad will eat brown rice. It's also not in the 150 range.

            1. You mentioned he tends to buy high-sodium frozen vegetables. My first thought is to get him some half size jelly roll pans, parchment paper and some spices. I thought half-size, assuming he is cooking for himself or perhaps two people.

              He could buy fresh vegetables, already washed and cut up to start. All he'd need to do is roast them with a small amount of olive oil and spices. The parchment paper makes clean up a lot easier. You could include some printed from the web recipes of difference spice combinations, or write up your own instructions.

              From there it's also pretty easy to move to roasted vegetable soups, so a stick blender could be another gift down the road.