There are many types of cooking that we use in prepping our meals, such as frying, stir-frying, sautéing and steaming. Until now, we have never known why some cooking methods are better than others. To put it another way, having these cooked is one thing; keeping them nutritious is another.
Because the food we eat contains various nutrients that each play an important role in our overall health and well-being, keeping at least most of them intact is a must to ensure that we meet our daily intake of those. Unfortunately, how we cook or prepare these foods can negatively affect their nutritional value if not done properly. We do not want a meal that is just delicious but without the essential vitamins and minerals that help keep our bodies going every day.
The good news is that you do not have to sacrifice nutrition for taste and flavor when you are meal prepping. The following tips should help prove it:
Cooking with a small amount of water and keeping the cooking pot covered help in preparing your veggies for any meal. These methods make the cooking process turn into steaming, which is key in nutrient retention. Also, vegetables lose more nutrients when they are constantly reheated. Do not overcook your veggies since most can be eaten raw.
Dairy products such as milk and yogurt spoil faster and lose many essential nutrients, such as bone-strengthening calcium and muscle building protein. Once you boil your milk, do not expose it to light because it can destroy the vitamin B1 (riboflavin) present.
Cooking root vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes are different from how other vegetables are prepared. They should be boiled with skins on before being peeled after boiling. These cause the nutrients to move to the center of the vegetables. Therefore, enjoy them cooked when they still have their skins on.
Should you decide to remove the skin, try to peel it as thinly as possible. The nutrients in vegetables and fruits are mostly found under the skin. Peeling before boiling increases the loss of vitamin C, vitamin B9 (folic acid) and other key vitamins.
Avoid Baking Soda
Using baking soda in retaining the vegetables’ colors and speeding up the cooking process tends to remove vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin C.
If you are a fan of fried food, such as fried chicken or fish, try to avoid leaving the food under the hot oil for too long during the cooking process. The proteins present in the food will start to become more solidified (a process called coagulation) and hardened especially when heat is over 650 degrees Celsius.
To prevent loss of moisture, which causes some essential nutrients to evaporate, it is a good idea to wrap your foods with aluminum foil. This keeps your food not only hot but also healthy in the long term.