Healthy Ways to Enjoy Vegetables
Vegetables are a good source of fiber, phyto-nutrients, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. They have low calories, too. We can eat them as often as we like without worrying of your weight loss plans.
While they are truly nutritious; their nutrients deteriorate during preparation and cooking time. Because of this, it’s important we learn the healthy ways of cooking vegetables.
Need help to rinse your veggies?
The nutrients in vegetables may be affected by water, heat, air and fats.
Many vegetables decrease their nutritional contents when cooked; others tend to amplify it. For instance, green beans, carrots and those others rich in beta-carotene and lycopene increase their anti-oxidant properties when heated. On the other hand, broccoli, spinach and bell peppers are heat-sensitive. These vegetables diminish their nutritional value when cooked.
To get most of their nutrients, we need to know the healthy ways to cook them.
Some vegetables are eaten raw. These vegetables are usually found on salad bars. Some of these healthy vegetables include lettuce, cucumbers, cabbages for coleslaw, yardlong beans, celery, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and so on.
In this case, the healthy way to eat them is to rinse them thoroughly. Vegetables and fruits for that matter, with thin skin especially need to be wash under running water. The better way to go with these kinds of vegetables (and fruits) is to go organic.
This makes sure you don’t eat the toxic pesticides and insecticides that growers use to produce them. Organic produce are more expensive than non-organic ones. If you’re on a budget, buy only the organic vegetables and fruits with thin skin. Onions, for instance have thick layers. You can opt to buy them non-organic.
Vegetables rich in Vitamins B, C and E need to be cooked very fast. Their nutrients diminish fast with heat. If you’re cooking with proteins like chicken or pork, the healthy way to cook vegetables is to add them last. From the hardest texture to the leafy green ones.
The healthy ways to cook vegetables include steaming, baking and grilling.
Boiling vegetables, on the other hand, tends to lose the most nutrients. If you need to boil vegetables like asparagus and broccoli, don’t leave them for more than 5 minutes in the pan. Make sure the water is already boiling hot when you put them in. The moment they change into their brighter green colors, take them out and let them cool.
Some say that microwaving vegetables is another healthy way to cook vegetables since the nutrients are sealed in while cooking. I however, don’t cook much with microwave because of the possible radiation it emits. I would rather cook vegetables the traditional way, which is under fire.
Vegetables remain nutritious and healthy after cooking.
It’s not like all their nutritional value evaporates with air, heat and water.
We simply need to cook them properly (not poorly) to retain most of their nutrients.
A good indication that your vegetables are not over-cooked is the "crunch". If you hear a snap when you bite them, you did a good job cooking your vegetable.
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