A lot of people think that healthful eating means undergoing some sort of diet, but nothing could really be further from the truth.
The truth is that a good diet has nothing to do with denying yourself anything, and everything to do with preparing healthful food based on natural ingredients.
A few simple modifications in your cooking style can have a major impact on your diet, your health, and indeed on the quality of life that you enjoy for years to come.
Retaining Nutritional Value in the food you cook
Now it may seem rather obvious, but when you’re aiming for a healthy lifestyle, the ingredients that go into your meals is just as important as how you prepare those ingredients.
It’s important to bear in mind that incorrect preparation can leach crucial nutrients from the food. After all, it’s hardly worthwhile to choose your ingredients carefully and then go through all the trouble of preparing the meal if at the end of the process you’re left with a meal that is of little value, nutritionally speaking.
Remember that heat destroys nutritional value – Quite simply this means that when you use a high temperature for considerable lengths of time in your cooking, what you’re effectively doing is destroying the nutritional elements in your food.
Baking and roasting are the worst offenders here, while stir-frying your food or steaming it retains the most nutritional elements.
Another important tip – You must not cut vegetables too much in advance of cooking them because they begin to oxidize the moment they are cut, and this reduces their nutritional value.
What you cook it can be as important as how you cook. Remember that the containers that you use for food are bound to react with the food as you cook. Natural materials work best and react with the food the least.
These materials include ceramic or glass, and pottery and stainless steel. Any iron or steel based utensil is also usually acceptable.
What’s not acceptable is aluminum, which can form toxic compounds when reacting with food, and even Teflon is dangerous.
Did you know that Teflon releases dangerous fumes when subjected to extreme heat?
It does, and these gases can cause quite a few disorders of the respiratory tract, as well as undermine the immune system and cause various health issues.
Oils and dressings (tips on how to cook rich food)
Oils are always a leery area for many people, but a good many oils are actually good for health. What you need to do is not use oil to excess in your cooking, and to use the right oils.
Remember that what is known as ‘Hydrogenated oils’ are actually heavily refined and manufactured products that the body does not respond well to, and which can cause all sorts of issues, from congested arteries (with the related risks of heart disease and stroke) to problems with organs that filter the blood, such as the spleen, liver and kidneys.
These artificial oils are also not very easy to digest and can place a strain on the intestines.
So an excellent and very healthful cooking tip is to use natural vegetable oils in your cooking. Canola or olive oil is excellent, for example, but even this must not be used in excess.
First of all, and obviously, you need to drain of the visible excess of oil or fat during the cooking process, but did you know that the humble grocery bag made of brown paper is excellent for blotting off the remaining excess oil? It is, and by using it you can reduce the amount of excess oil in your food by nearly eighty percent.
Another excellent tip for reducing excess oil in soups is to chill them. You’ll find that the excess oil and fat in the soups freezes and floats on the surface of the soups at low temperatures, allowing you to easily skim off this excess fat.
Draining off the excess oil from fried food also adds to their crispiness, making them nicer to eat.
When you bake, on the other hand, you can reduce the number of harmful fats in your food by using fat-free yogurt in your recipes.
Fat-free milk is another good way to reduce the fat content of many recipes. Or, if you would like an alternative to this, a good one is evaporated skimmed milk, though applesauce, bananas (mashed, of course) and even a prune puree can be used, depending on the recipe and its requirements.
For dressings, consider simple dressing like herbs and vinegar, tomato puree with onions, and of course ready-made low-fat sauces. Remember that rich salad dressings undermine the health value of eating a salad by adding a high-cholesterol content to the meal, and remember how too much cholesterol can contribute to hypertension.
Salt in food, and tips on how to use it wisely
An excess of salt in food has a direct connection to hypertension, of course, but it also causes the body to retain excess fluid and causes other problems. Use herbs and other spices instead of salt in your diet and embrace a safer and more healthful dietary lifestyle.
More tips for a healthy food diet:
- Remember that many processed foods are high in sodium, so use fresh or at the most, frozen products.
- You can use mashed bananas instead of any form or oil when baking bread or muffins, and make them not only more healthful but also tastier and good to eat.
One more tip for cooking Healthy Food – rely on whole grains in your cooking, as they have considerable nutritional value. Use corn, oats and wheat, and flours that use the entire grain.
If your recipe demands all-purpose flours, try substituting half of the flour content of the recipe with whole-grain flour.
The really important thing is the spirit in which you cook. If you truly value good health and nutritional cooking and prepare your meals in the right spirit, you’ll find that your meals become more healthful and nutritious over time.>