How to Prepare Healthier Food
Eating healthy means living healthy as well. Even if you buy chicken breasts and vegetables, all this potential will be for naught if you deep-fry everything in pig lard. There are healthy ways to prepare your food to minimize fat retention.
You may have heard of bodybuilders eating boiled chicken breasts as part of their meals. They know what they are talking about. Why? Boiling is good because you do not add any oil whatsoever to cook, for example, chicken. The only disadvantage to boiling food is the loss of some nutritional content. It is extracted out of the food and into the water, which is then disposed of. Also, bodybuilders love their eggs. While it may take less time to fry eggs, boiling or poaching eggs is a healthier and fat-free alternative. Another disadvantage to this is that the food tends to be on the bland side, unless you turn it into a stew or chowder.
More about boiling food:
In cooking, boiling is the method of cooking food in boiling water, or other water-based liquid such as stock or milk. Simmering is gentle boiling, while in poaching the cooking liquid moves but scarcely bubbles.
Boiling is a very harsh technique of cooking. Delicate foods such as fish cannot be cooked in this fashion because the bubbles can damage the food. Foods such as red meat, chicken, and root vegetables can be cooked with this technique because of their tough texture.
The boiling point of water is typically considered to be 100 °C or 212 °F. Pressure and a change in composition of the liquid may alter the boiling point of the liquid. For this reason, high elevation cooking generally takes longer since boiling point is a function of atmospheric pressure. In Denver, Colorado, USA, which is at an elevation of about one mile, water boils at approximately 95 °C or 203 °F. Depending on the type of food and the elevation, the boiling water may not be hot enough to cook the food properly. Similarly, increasing the pressure as in a pressure cooker raises the temperature of the contents above the open air boiling point.
Adding a water soluble substance, such as salt or sugar also increases the boiling point. This is called boiling-point elevation. At palatable concentrations of salt, the effect is very small, and the boiling point elevation is difficult to notice. However, while making thick sugar syrup, such as for Gulab Jamun, one will notice boiling point elevation. Due to variations in composition and pressure, the boiling point of water is almost never exactly 100 °C, but rather close enough for cooking.
Bringing water to a boil is generally done by applying maximal heat, then shutting off when the water has come to a boil, which is known as bang–bang control. Keeping water at or below a boil requires more careful control of temperature, particularly by using feedback.
Grilling also requires no fat to cook. If any, the grill is oiled so that the food won’t stick. Barbecuing is one of America’s number one pastimes because of the social aspect as well as the healthy and tasty way of preparing the food. The charring of meat results in a distinct flavor that is excellent for cooking meat, fish, chicken, and even vegetables. In addition, the fat melted off the food drips down onto fat collectors so that it is not retained in the food. One of the disadvantages to grilling is the presence of carcinogens because of the cooking process. There are ways to lessen the risk of this depending on the method and temperature of grilling.
More on grilling food:
Grilling is one of the most popular methods of cooking. Whether it’s grilled burgers, grilled chicken, grilled peppers, or grilled salmon recipes, cooking on the barbeque grill is quick and tasty.
Many people find that grilling is an especially fun way to prepare delicious recipes. While grilling is easy, you want to make sure that you have the essentials down. If you want more information on how to grill, see our comprehensive article about the grilling basics, including how to choose a grill, the right tools, and the smartest techniques to use when grilling.
There are as many different methods for grilling beef, chicken, vegetables, and seafood as there are types of fish in the sea.
Stewing is one of the most popular ways of incorporating vegetables into a meal. For one, it’s incredibly easy to boil vegetables, add seasoning and voila! You have a decent soup rich in flavor and nutrients. It’s also possible to incorporate meat and fish in the soup without having to fry them beforehand. This way, no nutrition is lost, without having to compromise texture and flavor.
More on stewing food:
Stewing is to simmer foods in a small amount of liquid. The liquid is then used as a sauce.
Food can be stewed on the top of the stove or in the oven. In this method of cooking, the food is just covered with a cooking liquid or sauce. A tight-fitting lid is important to prevent the liquid evaporating. The food and sauce/liquid are served together as a complete dish.
Examples of stewing liquids include water, stock, sauce, beer and wine.
Baking makes use of dry heat by way of convection. This method of cooking is not restricted to cakes, cupcakes and pies, but also for preparing casseroles, pasta dishes and many more. Baking does not require fat to cook, which is why it is considered a healthy way of preparing food. In fact, makers of chips and snacks are now offering “baked” potato chips in addition to the regular deep-fried ones in an effort to bring down its fat and calorie content. Red meat, chicken and fish may also be baked. Some people employ this cooking method for slow cooking meat, resulting in a very tender, falling-off-the-bone state that is greatly sought after.
More on baking food:
Baking is a food cooking method using prolonged dry heat acting by convection, rather than by thermal radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. The most common baked item is bread but many other types of foods are baked. Heat is gradually transferred “from the surface of cakes, cookies and breads to their centre. As heat travels through it transforms batters and doughs into baked goods with a firm dry crust and a softer centre”. Baking can be combined with grilling to produce a hybrid barbecue variant, by using both methods simultaneously or one before the other, cooking twice. Baking is related to barbecuing because the concept of the masonry oven is similar to that of a smoke pit.
Baking has been traditionally done at home by women for domestic consumption, by men in bakeries and restaurants for local consumption and when production was industrialised, by machines in large factories. The art and skill of baking remains a fundamental one and important for nutrition, as baked goods, especially breads, are a common food, economically and culturally important. A person who prepares baked goods as a profession is called a baker.
You may already be using these cooking methods. Good for you! If not, let this be a learning experience; healthy food does not have to be bland and boring. Also try using olive oil or raw coconut oil as much as possible. Surprisingly, raw organic butter is also a good option, as it contains no trans-fat. Try the above techniques for a change. You might be surprised!