October 22, 2012

Cooking Healthy

Living healthy is a way of rewarding yourself with the best things life has to offer. And one way to reach or achieve this is by cooking healthy. Below are some tips to cook healthy. We should be wary of the food entering our body, which is why we should cook them [food] wisely.

1. Using less fat in cooking.

Cooking methods that require no added fat, such as simmering, poaching, baking, steaming, and grilling, can be considered the most healthful. For sautéing, non-stick pans are becoming more widely used because little or no fat is needed. With regular pans, one can be careful to use as little fat as possible. Grilling is popular because it can be done without first coating the food with fat. If this is done, however, one must be careful not to let the food dry out.

Using less fat in cooking also means using ingredients with less fat. Excess external fat can be trimmed from meats and poultry. Low-fat sauces, such as salsas and vegetable purées, can often be used instead of high-fat sauces. Recipes can often be modified so that quantities of high-fat ingredients, such as butter, cheese, and bacon, are reduced.

2. Using unsaturated fats.

When you do use fats, try to substitute monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil, for saturated fats when appropriate.

3. Emphasizing flavor.

Taste is the most important factor in preparing nutritious food. The most vitamin packed dish does no one any good if it is uneaten because it doesn’t taste good. Preparing flavorful foods requires knowledge of the principles of cooking. You can’t rely simply on nutritional information. Rely more on the natural flavors of foods and less on salt and other additives that should be decreased in the diet.

4. Using the freshest, highest-quality foods possible.

In order to prepare delicious foods with little or no added salt and with less reliance on high-fat, high-sodium sauces and condiments, it is important to use high quality natural ingredients at their peak of flavor. Healthful cooking means letting the true flavors of foods dominate. To enhance natural flavors without added salt, cooks are using more fresh herbs, hot seasonings such as chilies, ginger, and pepper, and flavorful ingredients like garlic, browned onions, and flavored vinegars.

5. Storing foods properly.

Foods in storage lose nutrients as they age. The loss of nutrients can be slowed, however, by proper storage. This applies particularly to proper refrigeration.

6. Modifying portion sizes.

It is not necessary to feature huge slabs of meat to serve satisfying meals. Smaller portions of well-trimmed meat, poultry, or fish, nicely balanced on the plate with an assortment of attractive fresh vegetables and complex carbohydrates, are likely to be more healthful. Sauces often get the blame for adding calories to a meal, but if a sauce is flavorful, you don’t need much. Make a better sauce and serve less of it. Also, if a sauce isn’t too thick, it won’t cling as heavily to the food, and a little will go farther.

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