Hopefully you have been following our series on healthy eating! We continue today with the Absolute Healthiest Ways of Cooking! Depending on what you want to cook you have few choices of cooking methods depending on the food and the flavors you want to use. The key is doing it the PROPER way! You can use exactly the same cooking method and by leaving the food on to cook just 5 minutes longer than you should, you could destroy up to 80% of all nutrients! So let’s learn how to properly cook healthy!
Saute – Proper way to saute
Proper saute is a way of preparing foods that will give you the healthiest way of eating your foods and the way that will preserve almost all of the nutrients that your ingredients contain!
Proper saute DOES NOT use any oil. You probably read our article on “Should we be cooking with Oil?” and realize that cooking with oils is not healthy at all. So what do we use to cook with? Proper saute uses vegetables vegetables and chicken broth instead of oil. This method is like stir fry because it brings out the flavors of your food, but it cooks at lower temperatures. It is similar to steaming because there is enough moisture to soften the food so it is easier to digest. The amount of liquid required is very little, just enough to make the vegetables moist and tender. Just heat the broth in a stainless steel skillet. When it begins to steam, add the vegetables and cover it. Just saute them for the recommended amount of time, which will depend on what vegetables you are using!
We recommend you use either homemade broth made out of organic ingredients you make at home or pre-made organic broth in aseptic packed cartons instead of cans. Canned products are traditionally heated for one hour for sterilization purposes. That kills most nutrients. Aseptic packaging preserves both the flavors and nutrients. Once opened, aseptic packed food last up to two weeks. You can freeze broth and use it when you need it. Do not use boullion cubes as they are very salty and they usually contain MSG.
Steaming – Proper Steaming
Steaming is a great way to cook. Foods maintain their flavor and nutrients when they are steamed. They also taste great once seasoned with lemon, olive oil and herbs.
A study published by the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that light steaming was the healthiest way to cook when compared with all other cooking methods and their effects on retention on nutrients and antioxidants! The best way to steam vegetables is to cook them until the point they are firm but not hard. By doing so, you have very little loss of nutrients. Letting them cook few minutes past that point will result in loss of most nutrients. If you steam for a long time, the color of the water will deepen, reflecting loss of nutrients.
Here is the best way to steam. Add 2 inches of water in the bottom of a pot. Let the water that you will steam with boil first and the steam is very hot before you put the vegetables in. Reduce heat to medium level just before putting in the pot. Place a tight fitting lid on the pot while vegetables are cooking. Take them out when vegetables are firm but not hard. They probably will have a little crunch to them! By cooking this way what you are doing is to preserve the nutrients, make the food taste better and enhance the colors of the vegetables. Add some herbs, olive oil and lemon and you are done with an unbelievably healthy dish!
Proper way to “Quick Broil”
So what is the healthiest way to cook fish or chicken or meat and still maintain great taste? Steaming meat does not appeal to me, so what do we do? We can Quick Broil!
Turn on your broiler to high. If you will cook fish, place the rack right beneath the broiler. For chicken or meat, about the middle of the oven.
Use a stainless steal pan. Place the pan in the oven empty while the oven heads up so the pan and the oven will be very hot. About 10 minutes. Prepare your food and season it. Once the oven and pan are extremely hot add the food in the pan. You do not need oil in the pan. Because the pan is so hot, it immediately seals the meat on the bottom so all the juices remain in and prevents it from sticking.
The food will cook pretty quick. It does not need to be turned. For some fish fillets the cooking time will be as little as 2 minutes. Salmon takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Meat takes 15 minutes.
Proper way to “Quick Boil”
Some vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens need to be boiled.
Use a large pot and fill it with water up to about three quarters. Let it come to a boil. Once it is boiling place the vegetables in. Do not cover. Cook as follows: Spinach 1 minute, Swiss chard and beet greens are boiled for 3 minutes.
Roasting is done with dry heat in an open pan in a hot oven at about 450 F or higher. It crisps up the exterior of the meat or vegetables while it slowly cooks the insides. Roast root vegetables at 450F for about 30 minutes without any oil. Stir two to three times.
Grilling is great especially when the weather is great out. But it easy to make grilling an unhealthy way of cooking. Here are some tips to make sure that our grilling is healthy!
Grill on an area without direct flame as the temperatures can get very high if the food is directly on the flame. Do not overcook or burn the food. If you do overcook it, it will form toxic compounds!
If you like marinating your food before grilling that is great. Use ingredients rich in antioxidant such as lemon, onions, rosemary or black pepper. If you choose to oil, (although we suggest against it), use oils that have high smoke point such as avocado oil or high oleic safflower oil to reduce the amount of oxidative damage that will occur!