Adding small amounts of strong flavors gives dishes a kick without the need for piling on fat, calories, or sugar. A Microplane grater makes this quick and easy to do, says Mary Abbott Hess, R.D., a partner with Culinary Nutrition Associates in Chicago and former president of the American Dietetic Association. Use it to grate spices, hard cheeses, or chocolate, or to zest citrus fruits. Price: $10 and up.
Blending ingredients helps bring a richness to dishes like soups and sauces without adding cream, notes Hess. This handy device (bottom right) makes it a cinch, because you put the stick right in the cooking pot to mix (versus transferring ingredients to a blender or food processor). It's great for single-serving smoothies and emulsifying salad dressings, too. Price: $20 and up.