If you want to improve your eating habits, the obvious change is to eat healthier foods more often. However, the way you prepare food is also an essential part of building a healthy lifestyle.
Lowering your risk for heart disease and diabetes, boosting your immunity, and keeping your muscles and bones strong are just a few of the great benefits of eating healthy.
Overcooked green beans and deep fried chicken on your plate tonight? It’s time to level up your cooking skills so you can retain the nutrients in your foods. This also means avoiding unhealthy ingredients that deplete the powerful vitamins and minerals that are abundant in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and more.
Now, let’s get in the kitchen
1) Make it Steamy
In contrast to grilling, steaming involves using moist heat to cook foods. It’s also a great way to preserve the nutrients, color and texture of foods.3
The benefits of steaming include:
Preserving the good stuff- this cooking method preserves the nutrients, color and texture of foods
Less oil and fats required - if choosing between deep frying or steaming, opt for the latter!
Customization - you can steam your food no matter what region or style of cooking you choose
Invest in the tools - a steamer basket is easy to store and comes in a variety of styles. Stainless steel and bamboo are popular choices.
Customize your flavor profile - steaming isn’t boring if you have access to a pantry full of spices and herbs.
The fresher, the better - visit your local farmers market and ask what’s in season to maximize the nutrients you get from your food.
2) Switch it up with Stir-frying
Exactly as it sounds! Stir-frying involves cooking on high heat using a small amount of oil, while stirring the ingredients to ensure they are cooked evenly. This is a very common cooking method in Asian cultures and originated in China.
Why stir-frying is popular amongst healthy eaters:
Quick meals - due to the high heat and frequent stirring, your dinner can be made in minutes
Less oil - compared to shallow or deep frying, stir-frying uses less oil
Endless choices - whether it’s Malaysian, Thai or Szechuan cuisine, you can easily mix it up with a different stir-fry each week.
Non-stick is simpler - Avoid tiresome soaking and scrubbing by using a non-stick pan
Less is more - Start with a minimal amount of oil, you can always add more later if needed
Fresh and lean is best - Ask your butcher or the grocery meat department to help you choose lean cuts of meat
3) Bake it ‘til you make it!
We’ve all entered a friend’s home before and immediately exclaimed: ‘What smells so good?!’ All too often, it’s something delicious that’s been quietly baking in the oven and the heavenly scent has permeated through the house.
Baking uses dry heat and was traditionally done using hot ashes or stones, but now the luxury of ovens makes it easier and cleaner.
Why baking is a top-rated cooking method:
Less oil - Whenever we can reduce the need for oil in our cooking, it’s a good thing
Allows for improvisation - Though there is a science to baking sweets like breads and cookies, when you bake fish, vegetables and meats - you can flex your creativity with many different ingredients
Flavor-packed punch - The slow process of baking allows flavors to meld and umami to be developed in your dishes, without extra calories
Parchment paper = easy clean up - Don’t sleep on this tip! Using parchment paper will drastically reduce your clean-up time for your baking trays.
Go wild with spices and herbs - There’s many resources online, so type in what flavors you’re craving and see where it takes you
Choose lean cuts of meat - baking can retain the juices in leaner meats, which results in tender and juicy dishes for you to enjoy
Incorporating grilling, steaming, stir-frying and baking into your weekly cooking routines can impact your health in a very significant way.
By using different seasonings and preparation methods, you can level up your abilities in the kitchen while making satisfying meals for your family that you can feel good about.
Getting a handle on these cooking methods and phasing out less healthy ways of cooking like boiling and deep-frying will serve you well in the long run.
Remember that to get the most of our foods, we need to try and maintain their nutrient profiles rather than draining them of their benefits. Using less oil, choosing leaner cuts of meat and marinating are all great ways to impact our diet positively.
Drop a line in the comments to let us know what tip was most helpful!