It is much more healthy eating at home versus eating out. But the way we cook those meals at home can also play a huge role in how healthy that home cooked meal is. The type of food we are cooking is also another important factor.
With many vegetables, you will get the most nutrients by eating them raw. But do we always want to eat raw vegetables? But before enjoying raw fruits or vegetables, be sure to wash them well. You never know what bacteria it could have “picked up” before it reached your kitchen.
However, it is never a good idea to eat raw meats. Unless you are stranded on a desert island with no possible way of cooking, you will want to have different options.
Now the title of today’s post could be slightly misleading. Is there any certain cooking method that is healthier than others? There are so many variables such as the food, additives, heat level, etc…, that no one can absolutely say that one method is better than another.
In today’s post, we will look at various cooking methods and the health pros and cons of each one.
One thing you do need to know is when you heat many fruits and vegetables, it can destroy from 15 to 20% of vitamins and minerals that are in those foods. But your cooking method and style can actually help keep some of these vitamins and minerals intact.
Healthiest Cooking Methods #1: Microwave
You can look all over the internet and gain mixed emotions about microwave cooking. Some people believe this is a great way to cook meals for time-saving. Other people assume we are getting low doses of radiation when we use this method.
The first issue we will talk about is radiation. Yes, the microwave does emit radiation to cook that food. Is it harmful?
Let’s put this into a scenario if you would get rid of your microwave oven because of the amount of radiation it emits. If you are going to do that, you should also get rid of your cell phone, refrigerator, television, laptops and nearly anything else that uses energy.
You should never get an X-Ray or use a sunbed because they emit more radiation than any microwave oven does.
Microwave ovens use non-ionized radiation. This means it simply moves the molecules in the food to create friction, which causes heat. It does not leave radiation in the food and study after study cannot find where the system microwaves uses causes cancer.
Now that you understand how a microwave oven works, you also need to know that when you cook things like vegetables in the microwave, the process is so fast that the loss of nutrients is the most minimal of other forms of cooking.
The biggest danger found in microwave cooking is the container you use. Many believe that chemicals from plastics can leach into the food. Our suggestion is to use Pyrex… Glass will not leach chemicals. So if you want hot veggies, use the microwave for the least amount of nutrient loss.
Healthiest Cooking Methods #2: Steam
The next cooking method in line for the least amount of nutrient loss is steaming. The primary way most people steam foods is with a covered container that has a basket above water that is heated to steam the food. Some are electric while others sit on a stove top. And the Chinese have bamboo steamers that are stacked on top of a Wok.
Steaming is loved because the method not only cooks, but it also holds the flavor of the food item.
Steaming is used with vegetables and is also a favorite way of cooking various fish.
Healthiest Cooking Methods #3: Baking
We consider this cooking method healthier than many others. Yes, you will lose some nutrients, but adding some raw fruits and vegetables to the baked meal can replace the ones lost.
Baking can be used for many foods.
- Lean meats
- and more
You really should not have to add any oils when cooking meats. As most of them utilizes their own juices when in this process.
Healthiest Cooking Methods #4: Grilling
I know many “house husbands” who will be overjoyed to hear that grilling is healthy. The reason this is so is because grilling is a fast way to cook. So fast, that many nutrients do not have time to leave the foods being prepared.
Grilling is a great way to cook tender cuts of meat and fish. Many meats have enough fat, that you don’t need to add anything; just grill and serve. But other lean cuts like skinless chicken breast may need to have a light brushing of oil. Or you may consider marinating them for approximately 1 hour before grilling.
Many vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, etc… are wonderful coming from the grill. But do keep in mind that you will lose some of the healthy nutrients from them.
Healthiest Cooking Methods #5: Roasting
It is somewhat similar to baking, but this is often used to cook skinned foods like fish, turkey, chicken, etc…
Heat is applied directly to the outside of the food, which seals the outer part and allows the meat to cook inside with its own juices. Often this method requires the food to be rotated often so that it seals the outside and cooks the inside evenly. This method allows the foods to retain many of their nutrients since the outside is sealed.
Healthiest Cooking Methods #6: Pressure Cooking
Some of the best foods cooked in this fashion are soups and stews. You actually need very little water and all the meats and vegetables you add will hold their nutrients because the cooker is sealed and since it is a soup or stew, everything is eaten. So any vitamins or minerals that go into the liquid are still ingested.
Many people have found this a delightful way to cook beef, chicken, and lamb as well as potatoes, beans and risotto. It seems foods hold their flavor well when pressured cooked.
Healthiest Cooking Methods #7: Stir Fry
It does require a small amount of oil and more work than most other methods, but stir-fry, is a healthy way to cook small meat cuts, mushrooms, and vegetables like:
Stir fry has been used in Asian cuisines for many years. And studies have shown that people who consistently eat stir fry, are generally quite healthy.
Other Cooking Methods
There are many other cooking methods and we will be the first to tell you that you should not “throw away” any. It is a good thing to enjoy meals and the best way to do so is to experiment with various recipes, which will require different cooking methods.
As you notice, frying is not on the healthy list, but I have a love of fried eggs and I will admit that usually twice per month I will enjoy a couple of fried eggs. The key is moderating and using healthy cooking methods the majority of the time.
Some other methods include:
- Boiling – often used with potatoes and vegetables, many nutrients are lost in the water.
- Poaching – similar to boiling, the water is not heated to boiling level, but just below. Again, nutrients are lost in the water, but many people love poached eggs or fish.
- Deep Fat Frying – This is probably the most unhealthy of all ways to cook. A lot of oil is heated high and the food is dropped in the oil and cooked. French fried potatoes, fish and dough is cooked this way. Many nutrients are lost and all that oil is really not great for our cardiovascular system.
I want to reiterate that none of these cooking methods are wrong if kept in moderation. But if your Doctor says you need to stop eating fried foods, please follow their directions. There are many other ways to cook your food, so do not get addicted to just one way.
Now, I would also add that it isn’t always the way you cook the food, but what foods you are cooking and eating. For many of us, we ingest far too many refined carbohydrates. These come in the form of starches and sugars.
These carbs can lead to high blood sugars, weight gain and many other physical problems.
iGalen patented the world’s first carbohydrate manager that was developed using a blend of 4 natural ingredients.
We want to thank you for stopping by and if you have any questions or feedback about this post, feel free to comment below.
And please share this with your friends and family; just in time before all the holiday cooking!
Have a great day!