If your family’s diet has fallen off track, consider that it may not be what you eat but how you prepare it that’s the problem. Slow roasting, pan frying, and deep frying may be easy, but these cooking techniques zap the nutrition out of food while filling it with fat.
Here are the five best ways to prepare a meal without the added oil.
Grilled foods are a staple of summer, but you don’t have to put away the propane when the weather cools. Grilling locks in flavour without oils or added fats. You can grill just about any food you’d otherwise batter and fry for a healthy alternative even the kids might like. Chicken strips are an ideal example. Five ounces of southern fried chicken strips come in at 325 calories and 11 grams of fat; a seven-ounce serving of grilled chicken strips is 125 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. Keep in mind that cooking with a grill poses more threats than other cooking methods so always follow best safety practices whether you’re using gas or propane.
Your oven’s top heating element is another handy tool when it comes to healthy meal preparation. Broiling, like grilling, exposes food to direct heat. These short bursts of intense heat reduce cooking time and ensure foods taste as close to their natural state as possible. Better Homes & Gardens claims that many foods do well under the broiler, including thin cuts of meat, fish, and fruits and vegetables. While not as expedient as grilling, broiling can give you a similar style of food if the weather isn’t cooperating. Asparagus is one of the most popular foods to broil; while kids may be turned off at first, slightly crisp, lightly buttered, and salted asparagus makes French fries a thing of the past. Piece for piece, fries have 82 times the calories as asparagus - an added pad of melted butter or a bit of olive oil only adds 80 or so calories.
Time explains that steaming foods allows them to stew in their own juices and retain all the nutrients they are meant to have. Steaming requires no fat and limited seasonings in order to render a perfect piece of fish or plate of vegetables. Broccoli is one food that should only be cooked by steaming - other methods strip it of its cancer-fighting chemicals and antioxidants
Stir-frying does require a small amount of oil, but it is a quicker cooking method versus traditional frying. And in the world of nutrition retention, faster is almost always better. Any meat that can be cut into small pieces can be stir-fried with vegetables and brown rice for a hearty meal that will rival your local take-out place. Health says to keep the veggies to a max and, if you need something more substantial, pair your stir fry with soba noodles. Kids will enjoy tossing their favorite vegetables into the pan and seeing how quickly it all comes together.
While you have to cook meats, fruits and vegetables are edible off the vine, stalk, or limb. Add at least one raw food to each meal - think an apple with lunch, celery and ranch with dinner, and fresh berries with breakfast.
In addition to healthier cooking methods, reducing the number of foods you put on the table at each meal will strengthen your healthy eating goals. Keep it simple. When you must buy boxed foods, stick with those containing five or fewer ingredients. If cooking intimidates you, choose recipes that are likewise simple. A dinner of grilled chicken breast, asparagus, and a baked potato is nutritious, filling, and ridiculously easy to make.
Finally, let the kids help and you will see an eagerness to eat like never before. Even the pickiest child can be convinced to try new foods if they have a hand in its preparation.
Blog post provided by Jenny Wise