Three Healthy Food Preparation Methods
Did you know that eating healthy pertains to what you consume and how you prepare it too? Cooking methods and how healthy they are depends on factors such as the oil used, the temperature of the food, and whether the food you're preparing is fresh or processed. For example, regularly consuming large quantities of meat cooked at high temperatures suggests a higher correlation with pancreatic and colorectal cancers, as pointed out by studies.
What is it? - A standard cooking method for fruits and vegetables, blanching involves a quick dip in boiling water and then placed in cool water to prevent further cooking, otherwise known as "shocking food." Blanching is an excellent method of retaining the color, flavor, and texture of produce by deactivating enzymes, which would negatively impact overall quality. Blanched foods also store exceptionally well.
What does it do? - Blanching food is beneficial for:
- Decontaminating the surfaces of produce by eliminating harmful microorganisms
- Helps retain nutrients, improves the vividness of color, and tenderizes produce while keeping it crisp
- Helps maintain produce color, flavor, and texture by neutralizing harmful enzymes.
- Steaming & Boiling
What are they? - Steaming and boiling both use water in their cooking methods. However, boiling involves completely submerging your produce in water, whereas steaming may involve special equipment (such as a steamer), to cook the produce above the water by allowing the steam from the boiling water below to tenderize it gently.
What do they do? - Steaming and boiling your food help support weight loss since you're not using added fats (such as oils or butter) in the cooking process, significantly reducing calorie consumption. In addition, steaming, specifically, is an excellent cooking method for nutrient retention, whereas boiling (for long periods) may result in the release of water-soluble nutrients. These include the B-complex vitamins, such as folate, Vitamins B6 and B12, and Vitamin C.
- Stir-Frying & Sauteeing
What are they? - Sauteeing refers to browning bite-sized food pieces on medium-high or high heat until they are well done. However, stir-frying (or pan-frying) involves cooking food at a lower heat and leaving them whole. This is done to ensure the interior of the food is well done and the exterior doesn't overcook in the process. Stir-frying and sauteeing can be done with a variety of meats and vegetables. It is also vital to ensure the oil you use is a source of healthy fats, with little to no saturated or trans fats.
What do they do? - Stir-frying and sauteeing are excellent for controlled calorie consumption since you control how much and the type of oil used while cooking. Typically, only one to two tablespoons are needed. Stir-frying is also excellent for nutrient preservation. Like stir-frying, sauteeing is also ideal for enhancing a colorful presentation and bringing out more decadent flavors.