Marie Antoinette did not make meals from expensive appliances and state-of-the-art kitchen tools. You may not know it but your kitchen is already complete; all you will ever need to serve a gastronomic bacchanalia for a healthy lifestyle is right under your nose.

Get back to basics in preparing healthy meals with these tips:

1. Smash your potatoes.

Don’t mash it, or else you would have to invest in mashers, blenders, mixers, or ricers. In fact, you don’t need a potato peeler because you can just boil potatoes, unpeeled. After boiling it, you can start smashing them using no more than your ordinary fork. Drizzle in olive oil. Add a dash of salt and pepper.

Extra tip: use red-skinned potatoes to make this side dish more aesthetically vibrant. If you want a dish with a more buttery taste (sans the butter), then go for the Yukon Gold varieties.

2. Use the heavy cast-iron skillet.

You really don’t need an indoor grill, let alone a ridged stovetop pan, to brown meat. This kind of skillet can grill lean sirloin, for example, using just 3-5 minutes of medium-high heat.

In fact, the meat would just turn out as golden as when you grill it outdoors. Then again, you would need a ridged pan to achieve those highly prized grilled meat marks.

On a nonstick skillet, you can easily grill a cheese sandwich for less of the fat. First, preheat the skillet (greased with a teaspoon of olive oil) for 3 minutes on medium flame. Take some low-fat cheese and slices of tomato, and sandwich them in two slabs of whole wheat bread. Cook the sandwich with a plate covering it. Wait until one side turns brown before doing the other.

With that, you just saved yourself the hassle of buying a Panini grill.

3. Use blender to prepare vegetable soup.

You don’t have to buy cream to concoct a fantastically creamy veggie soup.

To begin, simmer four cups of a vegetable of your choice in two cups of water. Toss in some slices of onion and potato. Sprinkle salt and pepper. When the veggies become softer, throw the mixture, plus one cup of low-fat milk, in a blender to make a smoothie. Heat the smoothie and—voila!—your soup is ready for sipping.

4. Maximize the microwave.

If you want to steam vegetables, just use your microwave oven. It can steam carrots and green beans better than a vegetable steamer. It can even steam chards, collards and broccolis in a single sitting.

These benefits also extend to fish and meat. Chicken breasts steam more uniformly in the microwave than a steamer. Also, if you steam fish fillet in a microwave, you will not need oil. Best of all, the fillet won’t come out all flaky.

If you want more flavor in your chicken or fish, use white wine or lemon juice instead of water. Include thyme, oregano, tarragon and other herbs.

5. Don’t buy a cooker to prepare brown rice.

They say you need a cooker for brown rice. Fact is, you can take advantage of a heavy-bottomed saucepan and you’ll have the same thing.

Just make a makeshift lid for the saucepan using aluminum foil. Wrap the foil tightly around the brim. Then place the actual lid over this.

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