All over the world, dishes being cooked are often loaded with ingredients that impart flavour, but, add a lot of calories to the dish. Using such ingredients everyday will bring a lot complications associated with increased calorie intake and fats.
Is there a way which can impart the same quality of flavor to the dish, without a lot of added fat and calories?
Actually, there are many, and they don’t require expensive utensils and cookware. The basic thing that needs to be done is to reduce the amount of fat (oil, butter) required to cook the food.
A single tablespoon of cooking oil can add about a hundred calories. Deep frying adds a lot more than that.
Here are some of the most ideal cooking methods to enjoy healthy, nutritious and tasty food, without the calories and fat.
A Microwave cooks food by emitting electromagnetic waves that energize the water molecules, hence heating them. The waves reach the inside of the surface almost immediately, reducing the cooking time and because of this a microwave does a better job of preserving nutrients, as suggested by many studies. There is no need to use oil in a microwave either, making microwave cooking healthy and nutritious.
Baking extends the cooking time by using dry heat in an oven. No oil is needed, and baking enhances the original flavor of the food. It is excellent for meat, poultry and seafood. Studies have also shown that baking vegetables is healthy, such as, brussels sprouts, and asparagus.
Broiling and grilling
Both broiling and grilling cook the food with high direct heat and require minimum addition of fats. The cooking duration is short which retains a good amount of nutrients. Although, one caveat is that regular consumption of excessively charred meat increases the risk of certain cancers. So make sure that you grill only lean meats to the level of well-
done, darker meats should be kept on the rarer side.
It is an easy and healthy way to cook which requires zero oil, but it can result in dissolving of the water-soluble vitamins and many minerals in vegetables. Chicken or vegetable stock can be used to create many tasty recipes.
Poaching is a moist heat method like boiling, but it uses less water and heat than boiling. The temperature is kept below the boiling point of water. It is wonderful for cooking delicate foods, including, fish and eggs, with absolutely NO oil or butter.
Roasting is a dry heat method of cooking, similar to baking, but it uses higher temperatures. Meat, poultry and seafood are kept over a rack which is kept over the roasting pan. This allows the fat to drip down during cooking. For basting, avoid using the pan drippings, use liquids like lemon, orange or tomato juice, and wine. This will reduce the amount of fat in your dish.
Steaming is a wonderful technique as it allows the food to cook in its natural juices, retaining most of the nutrients. It works great for vegetables; the end result is flavorful and doesn’t require much salt either. If you want to lose weight and boost your health, steaming is an optimal cooking method for weight management, low fat, heart health and low cholesterol cooking.
- It helps food retain minerals and keep its natural flavor.
- Reduces the amount of fat in meat, therefore it enables you to enjoy eating fat free steak.
- It preserves fiber in vegetables and legumes that play a key role in weight management.
- You don’t have to add any oil or butter to steam your food which benefits your heart and helps control your weight.
Sautéing is a method of cooking food that uses a small amount of oil or fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Ingredients are usually cut into pieces or thinly sliced to facilitate fast cooking. Using a non-stick pan will eliminate the need for oil during cooking; use wine, cooking spray or vegetable broth instead.
You will need some oil for this method, but, the quantity should be kept low. Bite size pieces of vegetables and meat, poultry or seafood are seared in a wok. The oil should be used sparingly, enough for a nice sear, not a drop more.