A healthy diet gives you a higher volume of good quality nutrients than a typical diet does. The more quality nutrients you’re giving your body, the better you will function. And the better you’ll look.
But one thing that can ruin healthy food is the way you prepare it.
More and more people are becoming aware of which food is healthy and which is not. But few people pay attention to cooking the food in a way that retains the most nutrients. The fact is, cooking reduces the nutrients in your food.
But some foods are edible only when cooked. Some food tastes horrible raw. So, quite a lot of the time, you can’t avoid having to cook your food.
So, what’s the best way?
Simply cook the food in the way that minimizes the nutrient loss.
To help you grasp how you should cook, let’s explore the main food preparation methods that drain the nutrients. And I’ll discuss how you can minimize the damage.
Frying At A High Heat
Whenever possible, avoid frying your food on a high heat for a long time. For your vegetables, it’s a good idea to flash-fry them. In other words, fry them very quickly and stop. And eat them while they’re still crispy. Or eat them raw. Eating them raw will give you the most nutrients.
Some vegetables are very tasty raw. I found that quite surprising, to be honest.
It’s only recently that I’ve been able to enjoy raw vegetables. In the past, that idea never appealed to me. I always went like “eehh … eating that thing raw. No way!” Not until I opened up to the idea and really tried these things, and then I found out they’re not bad after all. Before you know it, they’re tasting absolutely delicious. So, if you’re not eating raw vegetables already, open your mind to a new way of eating. And try it. Quite often you’ll get a nice surprise.
OK. It’s all right eating some vegetables raw as part of a healthy diet. How about meat?
With meat, using a slow cooker is an excellent way to cook. Or if you really do have to fry, slice the meat up thinly and stir fry it quickly. That way, you’ll only need to heat the meat for a short while before it’s cooked to perfection. And avoid charring the meat as much as possible. Burnt meat is most definitely NOT good for you!
A lot of vitamins and minerals from your food can easily leech into the cooking water. So, ideally you should avoid having your food in contact with the water. Well … that may sound silly (because it is).
You can’t really avoid using water for cooking, right?
So, the best thing you could do is to avoid boiling your food. Even when you do boil food, use as little water as possible. And if there’s some cooking liquid left, don’t throw it away. Try to re-use it. You can use it to make soup, gravy or a sauce.
Instead of boiling, consider steaming your food. When you steam food, it doesn’t come into direct contact with the water. But even then, try to heat the food for as short a time as possible.
Another way to get around boiling food is to make soups, stews and casseroles where you’ll eat the liquid along with the food. So, you’ll still get the nutrients that drained out of your food into the liquid.
Using Cooking Oil
Cooking oil can sap nutrients from your food too. Some vitamins and minerals can easily leak into the oil. So, avoid deep frying as much as possible. It’s one of the worst ways to cook your food. It shouldn’t form any part of a healthy diet at all.
So, instead of deep frying, consider stir frying your food. Use a little oil and stir fry your food quickly. That way, you’ll minimize the nutrient loss. It also reduces a lot of the calories which you would have got from deep frying.
Roasting and baking are also good ways to cook your food since they don’t need a lot of oil.
And when it comes to the type of oil, I always use extra-virgin cold pressed coconut oil (in its solid form). No, it doesn’t ruin a healthy diet. It’s one of the best oils for cooking at high heat. It doesn’t pass any taste on to the food, and it’s actually very healthy.
To Peel or Not To Peel Your Vegetables?
Whenever you can, eating your vegetables with the skin on is a good idea. That’s because you lose quite a lot of nutrients by peeling your vegetables. Some vegetables such as potatoes, squash and carrots can be delicious cooked with the skin on.
Your food loses its nutrients as it sits in your fridge or cupboard. So, cook your food as soon as possible, while it’s still fresh.
In the first place, try to buy local produce to get the best chance of freshness. Check where it’s come from. Food from far-away countries had to come a long way to reach your market. So, it will have lost at least some of its nutrients along the way.
Another way to ensure freshness is to use frozen vegetables. Most of them are flash-frozen very soon after they’re harvested. So, they still retain quite a lot of nutrients.
Now that you know how not to ruin a healthy diet, stay fit and beautiful. And don’t forget to exercise regularly too.