Healthy Cooking Methods for Beginners
Healthy Food is Easily Prepared
Healthy Foods for Preparing Healthy Meals Using Simple Cooking Methods
People everywhere are beginning to wake up to the fact that eating healthy is the basic cornerstone of a long life free of disease and other health problems like arthritis, asthma and even headaches.
Cooking healthy is an important part of creating a healthier lifestyle for you and for those you love.
Taking the time to learn a few simple healthy cooking methods is important. Cooking foods in certain ways will destroy or enhance the nutrient value of many foods. For example, there is a world of difference between deep-fried chicken versus baked chicken. The problem is most folks simply like the deep-fried chicken because it tastes better.
Well, I'm here to tell you that healthy food can be just as enjoyable, delicious and flavorful as pre-packaged, fried or fast food.
If you learn the basics of healthy cooking, adding flavor and making certain substitutions - you, too can create a delicious, flavorful meal that is good for you.
Our family has only recently kicked the fast food habit and started to learn how to use healthy foods to make healthy meals that taste good.
Here are some tips I learned about healthy cooking for beginners...
Healthy Food: The Basis of Healthy Cooking
One of the things we learned right away is the type of foods used does indeed make a big difference in healthy cooking. Healthy food means using fresh, whole foods whenever possible. Did you know that certain cooking methods actually decrease the nutrient value and even destroy some of the healthy ingredients? Did you also know that cooking some foods actually increases certain healthy nutrients?
Learning the methods of healthy cooking is basic to getting the most nutrition form the foods you love to eat.
According to Scientific American, healthy substances like lycopene in tomatoes (known to lower the risk of cancer and heart attacks) is actually increased by as much as 35% when cooked.
Carrots, spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, peppers provide more carotenoids and other antioxidants when cooked and prepared properly. Sadly, vitamin C found in vegetables is decreased through oxidation when cooked.
While it is possible to prepare healthy food using prepackaged items, your best bet is using whole, fresh foods whenever possible.
I know it is easier to just come home after a long day at work and just throw some prepackaged food together, but with that convenient trade-off will come higher levels of sodium, fat and sugar typically found in prepackaged foods.
Healthy Eating Starts With Proper Healthy Cooking Methods
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry stated that cooking vegetables by steaming or boiling allows more of these healthy antioxidants to remain in the food.
Deep frying food are loaded with dangerous free radicals which are released by the oxidation which occurs when cooking in high-temperature oil for long periods.
These free radicals are known to cause damage in the human body and break down cells. The healthy antioxidants are used up in the frying process.
The main issue most people have with so-called "healthy cooking" is the lack of flavor.
The fact is, some folks just have not learned the proper methods of healthy cooking. Flavor does not necessarily have to come from heavy sauces, oils, dressings or butter. Herbs and spices, when used properly, can enhance the natural flavors found in most all foods.
For example, citrus can be added to baked, boiled or grilled chicken, fish and vegetables as great flavor enhancers.These also increase moisture and promote tenderness.
Other options are low-fat marinades and low-fat vinaigrettes which are used to increase flavor. Spices and herbs like oregano, dill, basil and chives can enhance the flavor in many healthy foods like vegetables and lean cuts of meat. Instead of salt, consider using turmeric, cayenne pepper, cumin or thyme.
When looking for healthy food recipe books, avoid dishes that use words like smothered, cream sauce, fried, marinated, creamed or covered.
These words typically indicate that a dish is likely high in calories and fat.
Instead, look for terms like grilled, baked, broiled or dishes which call for using healthy oils like olive, canola or other light cooking oils.
Healthy Food for Weight Loss
Hand in hand with healthy eating is weight loss. If you are typically eating meals made of fresh, whole foods, whole grains, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and lean meat with healthy fats - you're going to lose weight.
Healthy food does not have copious amounts of white processed sugar or processed white flour - neither of these have much nutritional value.
Start Preparing Healthy Food Today
The first step to preparing healthy food is using fresh, whole ingredients. Take some time and look around in your local produce market or visit one of the many roadside stands selling fruits and vegetables. These local produce varieties are likely to be the best source for the freshest and most flavorful fruits and vegetables.
Preparing healthy food is not difficult. Basically, all you need is a saucepan, one or more basic pots and one or more frying pans.
Anyone can start using healthy cooking methods without having a bunch of fancy pots or expensive food preparation equipment.
Some healthy cooking methods you can easily learn are stir-frying, steaming, roasting, braising and sauteing. Use the pots for making healthy stock to be used in a number of dishes, preparing vegetables, soups and stews. You will want to get a steamer insert that fits one of your pots and some basic cooking spoons in various sizes.
You can look up your own healthy food recipes - there are literally thousands of them on the Internet.
Basically, preparing healthy food calls for cooking methods that use little oil or fat - like steaming, stir-frying or sauteing. Substituting items like skim milk instead of whole milk or yogurt in place of heavy cream or sour cream is also a part of preparing healthy foods.
Roasting is another healthy cooking method that creates a wonderful and healthy taste in many foods.
Outdoor grilling is also an easy method of healthy cooking.
MKayo's Quick and Easy Chutney
This recipe is one of our favorites because it's easily prepared with readily acquired ingredients, requires no cooking and tastes wonderful on just about anything.
A note on jalapeno peppers: These can be left out if you don't like the spicy taste. Also, when handling raw jalapeno peppers, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling. I keep a few surgical latex gloves handy and use one on the hand that is actually touching the pepper while I'm chopping it. DO NOT touch your face when handling these peppers - and please don't ask me HOW I know this.
- 2 cups black beans, It's easier to use 1 can of black beans
- 2 cups whole kernal sweet corn, Fresh is best, frozen is also good
- 1/2 purple onion, finely chopped
- (if desired) cilantro, finely chopped or minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin, to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt, to taste
- 1/2 avacado, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper;, remove seeds and dice the flesh. NOTE: You can leave the seeds in but they can be very hot.
How to Prepare Healthy and Delicious Chutney
- NOTE: In order to get the most nutritional value from this healthy food, use whole, fresh vegetables and serve within a few hours after preparation.
- Step 1: Peel, pit and/or chop the onion, cilantro, jalapeno and avacado. If you don't like HOT taste, be sure to remove the seeds from the jalapeno pepper.
- Step 2: Combine all chopped ingredients together in a mixing bowl with the black beans and corn.
- Add seasonings to taste while gently mixing ingredients.
- Place the bowl of mixed contents into the refrigerator for about an hour to allow the flavors to mingle and marinate.
- Serve as garnish, relish or just spoon onto corn chips. Delicious!
Healthy Food Recipe Rating: Tell Me What You Think
Healthy Food Recipes on the Web
- Healthy Recipes, Healthy Eating, Healthy Cooking | Eating Well
Discover eating well - with healthy recipes, healthy eating, healthy cooking, healthy diet recipes, weight loss recipes and healthy menus from EatingWell Magazine.
- Healthy Recipes - Allrecipes.com
Find trusted recipes for eating healthy: start the day with a wholesome breakfast, cut the carbs or calories, find the perfect main dish for your special diet.
Find American Heart Association heart-healthy recipes.
Cooking Healthy Food Resources
- Nutrition Diva : How Cooking Affects Nutrients :: Quick and Dirty Tips ™
Get Nutrition Diva's take on how cooking affects nutrients. Learn how to preserve the nutrients in your food while cooking.
- Healthier Preparation Methods for Cooking
Nutrition Center - Healthy Cooking - Healthier Preparation Methods
- Healthy cooking techniques: Boost flavor and cut calories - MayoClinic.com
Healthy cooking techniques capture the flavor and nutrients of food without extra fat or salt.