How food is prepared can significantly alter how nutritious it ends up being by the time it is put on the plate. It all depends on whether and how it was deep-fried, pan-fried, stir-fried, grilled, roasted, boiled, baked or steamed.
The healthiest cooking methods include steaming, stir-frying, grilling, roasting, baking or boiling your food. Whereas deep-frying food produces trans-fats which cause heart disease. When cooking oils are heated beyond a point they release toxins, which are absorbed by the food; along with fats which are laden in calories.
Pan-frying and stir-frying foods better retain texture, colour and flavour in food, as well as the nutrients. When stir-frying it is important to use only a minimal amount of cooking oil and a little water to prevent the oil from becoming too hot. If the cooking oil does becomes too hot it to can release toxins called acrylamides which are carcinogenic.
Grilling can be accomplished on either a barbeque, or indoors in an oven or with a griller. Grilling food is a healthy way to produce low-fat food. It is best to grill food at low temperatures so not to char the food as charred foods can also be carcinogenic.
Roasting or baking food is another way to produce low-fat food and restrict the amount of oil being used. When roasting fatty foods, place a rack underneath to allow the fat to drip off. Basting foods that produce fat with lemon juice or vinegar while cooking can limit the fat content. Keep roasted vegetables separate from roasting meat so they do not get coated with the fat from meat.
Poaching or boiling foods is done through cooking food in hot water that is not quite at boiling point. The nutrients in the foods will not be reduced much through the boiling process as long as the foods are not over-cooked.
Cooking with other liquids other than oil is another healthy low fat alternative. Instead of using oil try cooking in vegetable stock, wine, lemon juice, vinegar, fruit juice or water.
To preserve the nutrients and to get the most nutrition from food, avoid over-cooking. When preparing vegetables it is also a good idea to scrub them instead of peeling, as many nutrients are often found close to the skin.
When eating the right foods for the purpose of benefiting health, adapting healthy cooking methods can be equally as important. Preserving the nutrients in food also preserves its colour and flavour, so cook it right and enjoy.
Written by: J. Marshall