Celebrate with Healthy Cooking
Any gathering of family or friends for the holidays wouldn’t be complete without a great feast to celebrate the occasion. When planning your feast, keep in mind that the method of cooking plays a big role in determining the total nutritional value of every dish.
Use the following tips to make your favourite cooking method a little healthier!
BoilingA simple method of cooking with liquids. Best for soups, pasta, and vegetables.
- Use the minimum amount of water required to minimise loss of nutrients
- Sprinkle fresh herbs like coriander or shallots onto the finished dish to add nutrients
- Save the cooking liquid for use as a healthy stock for sauces
SteamingThis is an excellent option for preparing healthy dishes.
- Use stock or water with lemon for added flavour
StewingCreates delicious meat and vegetable dishes while retaining nutrients in the sauces.
- Try to use a large wide pot for even distribution of heat
- Use a pot with a tight-fitting lid to reduce evaporation of nutrients
- Use a flavoured liquid or stock for a richer, tastier dish
RoastingCooking on a stovetop or in an oven. Perfect for browning or creating a delicious outer crust.
- Begin roasting at high heat to seal the juices, then cook at lower heat until done
- For a lower-calorie dish, remove the brown crust before eating
- Minimise fat by brushing on only a little oil on meats and vegetables
- Roast meats in their own juices
GrillingA popular method for barbecues, using charcoal, gas or electric sources.
- Heat the grill well before placing the food. This will seal nutrients inside the meat
- Limit using salt before grilling as it draws moisture and nutrients away from the meat
- Avoid letting excess fat drip onto hot coals as this may release toxic compounds into the smoke
Deep-fryingThis method completely covers food in hot oil. Cooking is quick, but fat absorption is high.
- Fry foods for the minimum required time to limit oil absorption
- Drain the food on paper towels for a few minutes after cooking
- Don’t reuse oils used for frying
- Deep-fry less often. Instead, opt for any of the healthier cooking methods mentioned here
Pan-fryingUses less oil than deep-frying, this method is popular in every household.
- Don’t let the oil burn - when it begins to smoke, discard it. It may become toxic
- Use a spray oil to coat the pan with a thin layer of oil, or brush oil onto the food
- Use vegetable oils high in polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats like canola or sunflower oil
Stir-frying / WokA popular Chinese method of frying, using a wok (a concave frying pan) and small amount of oil.
- Use tender cuts of meat and vegetables, making sure not to overcrowd the pan
- If the food starts to stick, add a little water instead of more oil
- Use a non-stick pan to reduce the amount of oil used
- Don’t overcook the food – it will absorb more oils