The way we cook and prepare food can often reduce its nutrient content. Check out Fitter Chef’s guide to healthy cooking to ensure you get the best out of your grub.
Cooking at high temperatures, boiling, deep frying and microwaving all zap a lot of the goodness out of food, especially the vitamin and mineral content. In addition heating up healthy fats during cooking can damage their beneficial properties and lead to oxidation. This oxidation of fat is strongly linked to heart disease. Ideally fats should be added once the food is cooked to gain the full benefit.
If you are to stir fry meat, fish or vegetables do so on a low heat and use a small amount of more saturated oils like coconut oil, butter (ideally from grass fed cows) or ghee. These fats remain stable when heated.
A great way to cook meat, fish and vegetables is to gently saute in some stock. It’s simple to do, all you need is a stainless steel pan (avoid cooking with aluminium pans, check out our post on heavy metals) and some pre-prepared chicken or vegetable stock. Most supermarkets retail these, ideally go for organic or at least one with a low salt and low/no MSG content.
Heat a small amount of the stock in the pan, if using powder use 1 teaspoon or half a cube and 4 tablespoons of water. When the stock begins to steam add the vegetables, meat or fish and cook for as long as required.
Once cooked drizzle with a good quality, organic oils like extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil, macadamia or walnut.
Preheat the grill for ten minutes place a stainless steel pan underneath, once the pan has warmed, place the meat/fish in the pan and grill for necessary time. Once cooked add your preferred oil. Quick, healthy and tasty!
The healthiest way to roast food is to do so without oil and then add the oil afterwards. Vegetables will cook in their own juices, make sure you stir intermittently. Meat and fish will also base in their own fats and juices. Once cooked add your oil and serve.
Steaming is the healthiest way to cook vegetables as it ensures all the nutrient stay intact. Most vegetables should be lightly steamed and soften slightly but still have a crunch when eaten. Steamers are widely available and cheap but if you don’t have one you can simply place a sieve over a pan of boiling water and a lid on top. Most vegetables cooks in 5 minutes so keep an eye on them.
Poaching is a great way to cook meats and fish, you can add herbs and spices to the water to flavour it during the cooking process.