We all know that we should make an attempt to eat a healthy balanced diet. But what we often forget is that even healthy foods can be made unhealthy if you cook them the wrong way. The unhealthiest way of all to cook anything is to deep fry it, but sauteing in lashings of butter or oil is almost as bad as well. There are some methods of cooking – like boiling all your veggies – that do not add calories and fat in the way that frying does but do rob these natural goodies of a lot of the vitamins you were eating them for in the first place.
Here then are a few ways you can cook ‘regular’ foods in a healthier way so that they keep all of the flavor you love but are still as good for you as they are supposed to be.
The single best way to cook vegetables like broccoli, carrots and many other greens is to steam them. Cooking veggies this way means that they retain a nice crispy crunch without be raw and lose none of those important nutrients that usually boil away in the cooking water.
There are a number of different ways you can steam food. Simple Chinese style bamboo basket steamers are often best though as they are durable, pretty inexpensive and help protect the flavors of all your food.
Good old fashioned baking is still one of the healthiest ways you can cook all kinds of food. Sure it takes longer than other methods, especially microwaving but try the baked potato test. Take two potatoes. Bake one in an oven, zap one in the microwave and then do a side by side taste test. We guarantee the oven baked spud will be so much better it will be worth every extra minute of the cooking time (and much healthier than french fries too.)
Poaching may seem like a rather old fashioned way to cook and these days if most people poach at all it is only to make an egg for breakfast. But poached meats and fish retain more of their nutrients and even more of their flavor. And again, it will take longer to cook dinner but the rewards in terms of taste and health benefits are worth the extra effort.
4. Stir Frying
Stir frying is the far healthier alternative to traditional stove top frying because you only need a few squirts of a cooking spray (or even just a few drops of a flavorful sauce) to successfully stir fry everything from meats to fish to veggies.
Getting into stir frying also often leads people to getting into experimenting with Asian recipes, many of which are far healthier than those will find in Western cookbooks.
Indoor or out not only does grilling mean that you don’t have to add any calorie laden unnecessary extra cooking oils but it also means that some of the fat that is naturally in meat is also removed without the food losing its flavor. Do not char food on an outdoor grill though, as an increasing number of studies are linking some charred meats and even vegetables with an increased risk of cancer.
To make outdoor grilling – which lets face it is a lot of fun and not something most of us would want to give up – healthier cook over charcoal embers instead of huge flames and grill the food until it is done to your taste but not until it is charred. You’ll find that it tastes a lot better that way too.