Healthy eating is about cooking food to preserve nutrients and prevent illnesses. It’s also about focusing on issues surrounding food production.
Healthy eating and healthy cooking go hand in hand.
Healthy cooking is when you prepare food with the aim of preserving its nutrient value and using healthy fats. It’s also about eating whole foods and reasonable portions.
Healthy cooking involves the following processes:
- Using healthy cooking techniques such as broiling and roasting because they require little to no fats.
- Cooking only unprocessed foods without added sugar, salt, and fats; nourishes the body with necessary nutrients and phytochemicals.
- Cooking foods in little water or steam to preserve nutrients such as soluble vitamins Bs and C.
- Using various fresh spices and herbs to add flavor.
Also, keep a few tools at hand to quickly fix your cookware if they break down. For instance, you may need a table saw blade with the ability to cut down on vibration (reduce noise) to fix your wooden kitchen essentials if they get damaged.
Here’re five healthy cooking techniques for your meats and veggies:
5 Cooking Methods for Healthy and Tasty Meats and Vegetables
Steaming involves cooking food using steam in an enclosed cooking pot. It cooks food and seals in flavor but doesn’t require fats. Just like microwaving and unlike other cooking methods, it preserves nutrients better.
You can steam any of the following:
- Fish such as cod, fish fillets, shellfish, halibut, and snapper.
- Chicken breasts
- Veggies such as zucchini, asparagus, and green beans, including pears.
You can steam your food in any of the following ways:
- A parchment foil or wrapper
- A covered basket with perforations (collapsible basket steamers) that sits over a pot with boiling water
- Convenient electric steamers
- Chinese bamboo steamers stack on woks
This technique involves cooking at high heat or temperatures for short times. Cut food into small, equal pieces to ensure it cooks faster and thoroughly.
Continuously toss and stir food ingredients so they don’t stick onto your pot or pan. You must be fully attentive while stir-frying.
Woks have sloping sides to quickly brown food in the pan’s “belly”, slowly cooking upwards where it’s completed. Although traditional Chinese woks were made of cast iron, modern ones come in carbon steel for faster heating and cooling.
Woks sit on a metal ring over the stove burner and oil is added when it’s very hot, and finally food. You can prepare any of the following foods through this technique:
- Veggies such as cabbages and broccoli
- Bell peppers
- Scallops and tofu
Broiling is among the easiest cooking methods. It exposes food to direct heat in gas or electric stoves. Cooking can also be done at the bottom oven drawers.
Although in grilling heat comes from below, in broiling it comes from above. However, it cooks food in the same way with similar results. Move food close to or far from the flames based on how you want it cooked because the heat remains consistent.
Place thinly cut food closer to the flame for fast sears of surfaces, leaving the inside less cooked. Always prepare lean chicken or beef cuts using this technique because it’s a dry-heat method (no oil is required). This truer for basted or marinated foods.
Salmon and beef are the best food to prepare using this technique. Others include:
- Bell pepper
- Cornish game hen
- Summer squash
Electric or gas stove is used for broiling food.
Microwaving is based on the steam cooking technique. Just like steaming, it uses little to no fats for cooking food. Vegetables are best microwaved because they retain both nutrients and color.
Chicken and fish, unlike pork and beef, plump up well when microwaved, hence are also best prepared using this technique.
Microwaves feature a carousel to help turn food for even cooking. Others are based on a convection system to evenly disperse waves inside the oven.
The wattage of a microwave determines its power per square foot of space available internally. This means that the most powerful microwaves have higher wattage and come in small sizes.
You also need microwave-safe ceramic, glass or plastic cooking vessels to microwave food. Some foods to prepare this way include:
Pressure cookers are used for pressure cooking. They require little time and water to cook food, meaning that nutrients such as vitamins and minerals are preserved.
The boiling liquid creates steam, which is sealed in to intensify flavors. Therefore, no oil or fat is required to add richness or taste. Food also doesn’t need seasoning.
Foods that simmer for long on stoves take about 15 minutes to cook, with veggies taking only 3 minutes and rice just 5 minutes.
Choose from three types of pressure cookers, namely: the developed weight-valve, traditional weight-valve or “jiggler”, and the spring-valve. The valves help control pressure and notify you when it’s time to make an adjustment.
You can prepare the following foods in your pressure cooker:
Whichever of the above cooking methods that you choose, you’re bound to prepare healthy veggies and meats for healthy eating.