How you prepare your food plays a big role in the nutrient value of the meal, especially when it comes to vegetables. Here are a few basic tips and tricks to get you cooking healthy, delicious food, in no time.
Steaming is the best method for cooking most vegetables. It helps preserve the micronutrient content of your food as well as the taste and the texture. In some cases, steaming even enhances the available micronutrients.
You can use a standard pot with a steamer basket or just add a small amount of water to the bottom of your pot. I prefer the steamer basket as it helps prevent you from burning or boiling your vegetables by mistake.
Sautéing / Pan Frying is a quick and easy way to cook and can be a great way to enhance flavor, but it does cost you some of the micronutrients in your food. Use it to add variety to your menu and be cautious of the oils you use. Stick to oils with a high smoke point to prevent unwanted oxidation. Coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, and/or ghee are good options.
Boiling is a great tool for hard boiling, soft boiling, or poaching eggs. Otherwise, stick to steaming for a similar result with improved micronutrient content, taste, and texture.
Grilling is a delicious and easy way to cook meat and safe starches, but this method of cooking produces toxins called HCAs, or heterocyclic amines. Fortunately, HCAs can be detoxified by consuming vegetables alongside your grilled goodies. Grill for variety and always combine with fresh or lightly cooked vegetables.
Baking / Roasting is a convenient way to prepare root vegetables, fish, and certain cuts of animal protein. Just make sure to use an oil with a point above your intended oven temperature to prevent it from oxidizing. Coconut oil and avocado oil are good staples for this.
- Add raw mustard seed powder to prepared cruciferous vegetables to increase the bioavailability of micronutrients.
- Get ahead by preparing a large pot of lightly steamed vegetables and a pan of oven roasted sweet potatoes and store in a glass container in the refrigerator. This way, when hunger strikes, you’ll have nutrient-dense food that is ready to be eaten.