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Whole Grains Health

14 Gut-Healthy Probiotic Snacks That Aren’t Yogurt

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Getting a probiotic solution in the form of a snack is easier than ever – no yogurt required.

Credit: Laura Reid / Moment / GettyImages

Yogurt could also be the spokesperson for gut health. Replete with live and active cultures – probiotics or good bacteria – the classic breakfast staples, your gastrointestinal system can function smoothly.

In fact, consuming probiotics can shorten intestinal transit time (how long it takes for things to go all the way through) and improve stool consistency, according to an October 2020 study in the journal Clinical Nutrition. Researchers found that people who consumed multiple strains of probiotics also experienced less gas.

But there is only so much yogurt a person can spoon into. The good news is that probiotics can be found in all kinds of tasty foods, and especially with the development of varieties that can be added to shelf-stable foods, we’re seeing them more and more in grocery stores. Fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics (e.g. kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir) are also finding more and more space on the shelves of grocery stores these days.

So if you’re looking to increase or diversify your probiotic intake, consider one of these probiotic snacks – none of which are yogurt.

1. Good Culture cottage cheese, low-fat classic

Good Culture cottage cheese: low-fat classic

Cottage cheese, a heartier, salty alternative to yogurt, is packed with good-for-you probiotics and lots of protein.

Credit: Good culture

  • Per serving: 120 calories, 3 grams of fat (2 grams of saturated fat), 460 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of carbohydrates (0 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar), 19 grams of protein

This creamy cottage cheese is made from five simple, recognizable ingredients: skimmed milk, whole milk, heavy cream, sea salt and the live and active cultures Lactobacillus Paracasei. There are no thickeners or emulsifiers, and at 19 grams per serving, it’s a solid source of protein too.

2. Health-Ade Plus Belly Reset

Reset Health-Ade Plus belly

Kombucha is a great probiotic source as it is; this version takes it one step higher.

  • Per serving: 60 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates (0 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, 12 grams of added sugar), 0 grams of protein

Yes, Kombucha is a great source of probiotics, and this particular strain from Health-Ade takes it even better. They added 6 billion CFU of probiotics to each bottle, along with ginger and pineapple – two foods that help with gas.

3. Kite Hill DIPS Tzatziki

Kite Hill DIPS Tzatziki

You get a nice cucumber and dill punch with every bite.

  • Per serving: 30 calories, 2 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 75 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates (0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), 1 gram of protein

With this dairy-free almond milk-based option, upgrade your favorite dip to one that also delivers lively and active cultures. If you’re looking for other dip flavors, Kite Hill makes tzatziki and ranch dips too.

4. Wild beetroot & cabbage organic cabbage

Wild beetroot & cabbage organic herb

These sweet and savory turnips are great additions to salads, sandwiches, and sausage boards.

Credit: Azure standard

  • Per serving: 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 280 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates (<1 gram of fiber, <1 gram of sugar), 0 grams of protein

Earthy and sweet beets (plus some fresh pear) balance the sauerkraut flavor in this raw, fermented sauerkraut. Find it on the grocery store’s refrigerated shelf and serve cold – heating the herb will kill the probiotics.

5. Sunja’s medium spicy kimchi

Sunja's medium-spicy kimchi

Kimchi offers such a versatile way to get your probiotic solution.

  • Per serving: 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 90 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates (1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar), 0 grams of protein

Crunchy cabbage, carrots and sweet red pepper become spicy with the addition of crushed red pepper and subsequent fermentation. As with sauerkraut, you should definitely store kimchi in a cool place and serve cold, as the heat during cooking destroys the probiotics.

6. CORE Bar of Peanut Butter Chocolate

CORE Bar Peanut Butter Chocolate

You can find this probiotic-filled bar in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.

  • Per serving: 220 calories, 10 grams of fat (2.5 grams of saturated fat), 160 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates (7 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar), 7 grams of protein

Not only does this chilled bar add probiotics to your diet, but it also provides prebiotic strength – aka the food that feeds the good bugs in your GI. The first ingredient is whole grain oats, and each bar is rich in fiber and protein in a snack-sized serving. Other flavors include peanut butter and blueberry-banana-almond.

Kor good check

If you like your probiotics quick and easy, a shot like this one from KOR Gut Check is for you.

  • Per serving: 20 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates (0 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar), 0 grams of protein

At just under 2 fluid ounces, the basis of this wellness shot is apple cider vinegar. The second ingredient is probiotics – and you get 1 billion CFU per shot. Aloe vera juice, ginger juice, lemon juice and coconut water round off the taste profile of the drink.

8. Uncle Matt’s Orange Defense Turmeric & Probiotics Orange Juice

Uncle Matt's Orange Defense Turmeric & Probiotic Orange Juice Drink

Uncle Matt’s orange juice drink is a probiotic alternative to your typical morning OJ.

Credit: Uncle Matts

  • Per serving: 170 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates (2 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar), 3 grams of protein

Sometimes all you need is a liquid snack to get through your lunch break. A single serving of Uncle Matt’s Orange Defense provides 1 billion CFU of GanadenBC30’s proprietary probiotics. You also get a hefty dose of turmeric and vitamin C.

9. Lifeway Plain Lowfat Kefir

Lifeway Simple Low Fat Kefir

Another filling alternative to yogurt, one serving of this kefir is high in probiotics and it goes smoothly.

  • Per serving: 110 calories, 2 grams of fat (1.5 grams of saturated fat), 125 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates (0 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar), 11 grams of protein

The tart and tangy, creamy milk drink provides 12 different probiotic strains. According to a February 2020 review in Nutrients magazine, drinking kefir regularly has the potential to lower cholesterol and suppress inflammation. If you’re just too tart, Lifeway offers a wide variety of other flavors – from infused fruit to sweet s’mores. Just think about the sugar in these.

10. KIND Apple Cinnamon Probiotic Breakfast Bar

KIND Apple Cinnamon Probiotic breakfast bar

Now your favorite practical breakfast bar offers probiotics.

  • Per serving: 210 calories, 7 grams of fat (0.5 grams of saturated fat), 110 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates (4 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, 8 grams of added sugar), 3 grams of protein

You get two breakfast bars in a single serving, plus 28 grams of whole grains and 500 million probiotic CFU cultures. If apple cinnamon is not your taste, KIND Probiotic Breakfast Bars are also available in peanut butter dark chocolate and orange cranberry.

Buy it:Amazon.com;Price:$ 17.99 for 12 bars

11. Mariani probiotic apricots

Mariani probiotic apricots

Dried fruits with added probiotics are a new but welcome addition to the probiotic world.

  • Per serving: 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 30 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates (4 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar), 1 gram of protein

Dried fruits with added probiotics are new to us, but that’s what we’re here for. Plus, the natural fiber from the fruit means you’re getting a prebiotic in your snack as well. Remember, prebiotics fuel the good bugs in your GI system.

12. Farmhouse Culture Apple Cider Vinegar Gut Shot

Farmhouse Culture Apple Cider Vinegar Gut Shot

This pack of ACV shots comes in all sorts of unique flavors.

  • Per serving: 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 70 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates (0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), 0 grams of protein

This pack of 16 comes with the flavors apple-cinnamon and ginger-turmeric. Both are made with leftover pickled cabbage (that’s where the probiotics come from) and apple cider vinegar. The remaining ingredients – such as ginger, turmeric and black pepper or cinnamon and apple – vary with the shot taste. This brand also makes ginger beet and garlic dill flavors.

Buy it:Amazon.com;Price:$ 49.99 for 16

13. Vegan Rob’s probiotic cauliflower puffs

Vegan Rob's Probiotic Cauliflower Puffs

Satisfy your crunchy cravings with these cauliflower poufs.

  • Per serving: 140 calories, 8 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat), 160 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates (2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), 3 grams of protein

These puffs will absolutely satisfy your cravings for salty, crispy cravings, even though there really isn’t that much cauliflower in them. Cauliflower powder is the third ingredient, while the first ingredient is a gluten-free whole grain.

Buy it:Walmart.com;Price:$ 37.60 for a pack of 12

14. North Coast organic apple sauce + probiotic strawberry sachets

Probiotic strawberry sachets

These sachets provide an easy, portable way to get your probiotic solution.

  • Per serving: 50 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates (2 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 0 grams of added sugar), 0 grams of protein

Applesauce plus strawberry puree plus probiotics (in this case Bacillus Coagulans) make a fruity snack for children and adults in a dirt-free, compressible bag for on the go.

Whole Grains Health

Crush sugar cravings with dried fruit, dietician explains how a sweet treat can work wonders

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When consumed, sugar and refined carbohydrates raise insulin levels in the body, a condition that triggers hunger pangs and compels you to eat more. | Photo credit: iStock Images

Key Highlights

  • For a diabetic, heart patient, or obese person, one of the biggest challenges is avoiding sugar cravings.
  • Being a sweet dried fruit, plums crush sugar cravings by giving your body the sweetness it craves, with no artificial or added sugars.
  • It’s a safe way to satisfy a sweet tooth with a touch of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the same serving.

New Delhi: For a diabetic, heart patient, or obese person, one of the biggest challenges is avoiding sugar cravings. Sweets, baked goods, desserts and other sweet treats have this effect on people – you just can’t help but crave these foods – even more so when advised against. When consumed, sugar and refined carbohydrates raise insulin levels in the body, a condition that triggers hunger pangs and compels you to eat more. Over time, calorie intake increases and you may end up gaining weight.

That being said, many hours are often spent wondering how to beat sugar cravings for good; and according to experts, there’s a sweet and healthy treat that can work well. Continue reading.

Sugar Cravings: Is There a Way to Curb It?

One of the best ways to curb sugar cravings is to eat a nutrient-dense diet throughout the day that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. When macronutrients like protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats come together, they induce satiety, stop hunger pangs and effectively lower calorie intake. However, if sugar cravings continue to bother you, the best way to curb them is to help yourself with some prunes or prunes.

According to the author of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility, prunes can curb sugar cravings for a variety of reasons. For starters, this dried fruit is a filling treat that’s high in carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin A, vitamins B2 and B3, and vitamin K. Also, snacking on plums is known to induce a feeling of satiety and also reduce hunger pangs. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Bulletin, people who snacked on prunes ate fewer calories than those who snacked on jelly beans or raisins.

And that’s not all, since plums are a sweet dried fruit, they crush sugar cravings by giving your body the sweetness it craves, with no artificial or added sugars. It’s a safe way to satisfy a sweet tooth with a touch of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the same serving. Each serving of this dried fruit contains 3.5 grams of natural sugars and 0.5 grams of fiber.

Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in this article are for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a nutritionist before beginning any fitness program or changing your diet.

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Whole Grains Health

Sneaky Sources of Added Sugar

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There’s a common misconception that sugar is only found in foods that are known to be sweet — sugary drinks, desserts, and candy. Yes, those are the obvious culprits. But what about the ketchup you dip your fries in, the dressing you drizzle liberally on your salad, or the bread you use on sandwiches?

None of these foods sound particularly bad to you, but they all contain sugar that can quickly bog down your daily calorie intake. Although organizations like the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend limiting sugar intake, Americans still eat about 17 teaspoons of added sugar (272 calories) a day. To keep those sugars from affecting your health or waistline, we’ve highlighted nearly a dozen different food products that contain surprisingly high levels of added sugar.

Is Sugar Unhealthy?

Usually, when you hear the word sugar, delicious sweets, desserts and sugary drinks come to mind. These are called added sugars. You can also consume sugar naturally by eating fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.

These foods contain carbohydrates. During the digestive process, starch is converted into a sugar known as glucose. Glucose enters your bloodstream and serves as your body’s main fuel source. Simply put, you need sugar—as long as you get it from the right sources.

Eating foods with too much added sugar can lead to insulin resistance, which is when your body doesn’t respond to insulin. This causes a domino of events leading to high blood sugar. When too much glucose enters the bloodstream, the pancreas works hard to secrete insulin — a hormone that helps cells and tissues use and store glucose — so blood sugar has somewhere to go.

Over time, the cells become resistant to the excess insulin and blood sugar levels continue to rise. This resistance can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, the pancreas continues to produce insulin and sends excess blood sugar to the liver and muscles. The liver can only hold so much glucose, and the rest ends up in fat cells, leading to weight gain.

There is also a psychological effect of sugar. When digested, sugar releases dopamine, a chemical that controls how you perceive pleasure. It can also increase serotonin production, which can improve your mood. For these reasons, sugar is often considered addictive.

What is added sugar?

As the name suggests, added sugar is added to foods during the manufacturing process. Examples are adding sugar to baked goods or to tea to make sweet tea.

Most of the sugar Americans consume comes from sucrose, a combination of glucose and fructose, better known as table sugar. However, food labels are still confusing, largely because food manufacturers try to remain silent about added sugars. In other words, foods can have added sugars even without the word “sugar.”

Here are some common types of added sugars found on food labels:

  • Processed sugar molecules – fructose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose
  • Syrups – rice syrup, maple syrup, corn syrup, brown rice syrup
  • Natural sweeteners – honey, molasses, agave
  • Processed Fructose – Fruit Concentrates, Fruit Nectar (Peach Nectar, Pear Nectar), Sugar Cane Juice

Sugar shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake, according to the dietary guidelines for Americans. For the average person on a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s 200 calories, or 12 teaspoons of sugar. Added sugar can build up quickly. For example, a 12-ounce can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar. That’s almost all the recommended added sugars in one sitting!

Natural sugar vs. added sugar

If you’ve ever bitten into a strawberry or eaten fresh corn in the summer, the sweetness your taste buds pick up is called natural sugar. The most common natural sugars include fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (milk sugar), and maltose (found in germinating grains).

Sugar is sugar, even if it occurs naturally, right? Yes, but the context is important. Once sugar enters your body, the digestive system sees natural sugar and added sugar the same and processes them as such.

So, yes, although certain fruits and vegetables are high in sugar, they also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The structural complexity of these foods results in a slower digestion process – as opposed to a rapid release of glucose – which keeps you feeling full for longer. So you don’t have to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to feel full, which keeps the amount of sugar you eat in check.

Added sugar, on the other hand, does not provide any nutrients or dietary benefits to slow down digestion. That’s why they’re commonly referred to as empty calories — there’s a reason you can eat half a dozen sugar-packed cookies and not feel full.

Foods with insidious sources of sugar

foods with added sugar

A few grams of added sugar may not seem like much, but they can add up quickly since there are four calories in one gram. Watch out for these hidden sugars in your next meal!

spices

Ketchup, salad dressings, and barbecue sauce are the biggest culprits here. In each case, sugar is added during the manufacturing process for flavor and balance. Think of it this way: Vinegar is a key ingredient in ketchup, dressings, and barbecue sauce, and sweetness is a way to keep the acidity from becoming too strong.

A tablespoon of any of these condiments can contain several grams of sugar, which when eating a burger and fries can add a teaspoon or more of sugar. Look for condiments with little or no added sugar.

bread

Despite the long list of ingredients listed on packaged bread, it only takes three simple ingredients to make it — flour, water, and a leavening agent (natural sourdough starter, or yeast). But like many packaged goods, sugar and salt are added to breads to enhance their flavor.

And yes, that goes for white bread as well as white bread. Making a sandwich with two slices of whole wheat bread adds 6 grams of sugar to your meal. Check the labels, too, as some organic breads may seem good for you, but the addition of cane sugar and molasses adds up to 8 grams of sugar for two slices.

Fat-free products

Fat-free and low-fat products are among the main culprits when it comes to added sugars. Fat equals flavor, so food manufacturers need to add flavor when removing fat from their products. The solution? Add sugar to improve flavor. For example, one cup of non-fat yogurt has 18 grams of added sugar.

Marinara sauce

Depending on the brand, ½ cup of store-bought marinara sauce contains up to 4 to 5 grams of added sugar. Manufacturers add sugar to tone down the acidity of the tomatoes. However, tomatoes have enough natural sugars of their own to provide sweetness. When shopping, look for brands with low or no added sugar. Not all brands of tomato sauce are guilty of adding sugar, so be sure to check the labels.

yogurt

Dairy products alone have natural sugars from lactose. Additionally, many yogurt brands add sugar to enhance flavor — just ⅔ cup of vanilla yogurt has 17 grams of added sugar. It is best to choose unsweetened whole milk yoghurt.

Pizza

Between the added sugars in pizza dough and marinara sauce, a single pizza slice can contain several grams of sugar. The amount of added sugar can creep even higher if the pizza includes pepperoni or sausage. Sugar is often added to these processed meats during the manufacturing process.

peanut butter

In theory, peanut butter should have one ingredient – dry roasted peanuts (maybe with added sea salt). The reality is that many commercial jars of peanut butter contain several grams of sugar to enhance the flavor. Be wary of brands with the words “high fructose corn syrup” or any type of sugar alternative in the ingredients list.

breakfast cereal

The obvious sources of added sugar are the sugary cereals that kids love to eat. But even so-called healthier options like raisin bran (9 grams of added sugar per cup) or bran flakes (6 grams of added sugar per cup) have added sugars that can sneak in. Plain oatmeal is a healthier breakfast alternative. You can even sprinkle in fresh fruit like strawberries for a natural sweetness.

dried fruit

Although it may seem harmless, many types of dried fruit contain added sugars to make them taste better. Dried cranberries are a perfect example. They’re too tart on their own, so sugar is added to make them tastier. Dehydrating fruit also removes moisture, making each piece of fruit smaller than fresh fruit. This makes it easy to overeat and increase sugar intake.

canned fruit

Again, what could be so bad about fruit in a can? Most canned fruit is packed in high fructose corn syrup, which helps preserve the fruit and add flavor to it. Fresh fruit is always the best option when available. Look for frozen fruit in the frozen section of your grocery store during the winter months.

You can find more trending topics and the latest health news on the INTEGRIS Health For You blog.

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Whole Grains Health

Mediterranean diet food list: Tips and cooking tools

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When you think of the Mediterranean, it’s easy to let your mind wander to a happy place — relaxing on a hilltop with a beautiful view of the sea while munching on olives, a platter of vegetables, and some fish. Sounds pretty nice right? Well, we can’t provide the views, but we can help you create a list of Mediterranean diet foods to help you eat healthier.

Put simply, “The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits of southern European countries (mainly Italy, Greece, Spain), with an emphasis on olive oil as an important part of a heart-healthy diet,” explains holistic nutritionist Kristen Ciccolini.

And it’s great for your overall health, says nutritionist Kelly Schmidt: “The Mediterranean diet is one of the most studied diets and is highly recommended by many health organizations and institutions, and even the US News & World Report consistently ranks the Mediterranean diet as the one.” overall healthiest diet.”

It really is for anyone trying to improve their overall health, says Schmidt. “Anyone trying to improve their health and nutrition can take the Mediterranean Diet as a template and adapt elements of that diet to their needs,” she says. If you’ve tried all kinds of keto or low-carb diets, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you.

Wondering if you can follow this plan? Ciccolini explains what to expect: “It’s essentially a whole food diet, focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, and poultry, as well as omega-3s and monounsaturated fats Seafood and olive oil.” Here are some essential items to include on your Mediterranean Diet food list.

Brightland The Duo ($74; brightland.co)

Olive oil is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet and this set offers one oil for cooking and one for dressing and dipping – perfect for all those mezze platters you’ll be making! View our review of Brightland Olive Oil here.

Thrive Market Organic Green Core Olives

Snack on these great-tasting olives, grown in Greece without the use of pesticides.

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a big part of the Mediterranean diet. This box of quality salmon will keep you on track.

Saffron Road combined two Mediterranean favorites with their crispy falafel chickpeas.

Greek yogurt — yogurt that’s been strained to remove extra lactose and sugar and rich in calcium and vitamin D — is another staple of the Mediterranean diet.

“The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 101 Easy, Flavorful Recipes for Lifelong Health” by Serena Ball & Deanna Segrave-Daly ($15.15; amazon.com)

When you need inspiration and guidance to get started, this easy cookbook has easy recipes you’ll love.

Immerse yourself in Mediterranean style with these highly rated kebabs, which you can grill or roast meat and vegetables on.

Serve all your delicious grilled vegetables and meats on this stylish, summery platter.

Or make a complete mezze for family or guests with these trays inspired by the Hamsa symbol for protection.

Remember, it’s not just about what you eat, it’s also about how you treat yourself overall. Ciccolini says, “Just as important as food is lifestyle, enjoying meals with others and staying physically active.”

“The beauty of the Mediterranean diet is that it’s flexible and easy to follow,” says Schmidt. “A pressure cooker and slow cooker can help prepare stews, legumes and grains with less effort.” With just a few kitchen essentials, you can start preparing Mediterranean dishes right away.

This highly practical stove can prepare healthy meals in 70% of the time of other cooking methods.

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker ($69.99, originally $79.99; amazon.com)

Set it and forget it (until dinner time) with this handy slow cooker.

Lodge Preseasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Assist Handle Holder ($29.90; amazon.com)

Schmidt also points out that “a cast-iron skillet can be helpful when preparing a one-pan meal.” If you can’t snag your grandma’s old cast iron skillet, this pre-treated skillet is the next best thing.

Powerful enough to seriously sear your fish, this highly rated cast iron is another excellent choice for your healthy journey.

Cuisinart Classic cutlery set made of stainless steel, white, triple riveted

“I recommend getting a good set of knives and a cutting board if possible—you’ll be cutting a lot with whole foods!” says Ciccolini. With this premium set you can cut vegetables like a pro!

Wüsthof Gourmet 7-piece knife block set

Here’s another set from the chef’s favorite brand, made up of seven pieces and a wooden block with 15 slots.

Amazon

This set of knives is our pick for the best of 2021 thanks to its sturdy construction, ease of use and superb execution.

Wüsthof Gourmet Tri Stone sharpener

Keep your knives sharp with this gourmet sharpening set that comes with three different stones.

This sturdy and attractive board makes it easy to stick to your new eating plan. Looking for more cutting boards? Check out our favorites of 2021.

Find out which kitchen items are worth investing in

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