- Health A-Z
- Diet & Fitness
- Home Remedies
A lot of dishes in India use ingredients like kabuli chana and besan without many vegetables, and though these dishes are healthy, you could add a few vegetables to them to enhance the nutrition levels.
Baking is a great low fat cooking method. Baking on a rack or draining the fat after baking helps make meat, poultry, and fish even lower in fat. Steam cooking is another non-fat method. It also minimizes nutrient loss. For example, steamed vegetables generally retain more vitamin C than boiled vegetables. If you need to use oil, try cooking sprays or apply oil with a pastry brush. Cook in liquids (such as stock, lemon juice, fruit juice, vinegar or water) instead of oil. When a recipe calls for cream as a thickener, use low fat substitutes like yogurt, soymilk, or corn-starch instead. Use non-stick cookware.
Remove chicken skin, which is high in fat. However, to retain the moisture in the chicken meat, remove the skin at the end of cooking.
Add a splash of olive oil or lemon juice close to the end of cooking time or to cooked vegetables – it can enhance flavours in the same way as salt. Choose fresh or frozen vegetables, since canned and pickled vegetables tend to be packaged with salt. Limit your consumption of salty processed meats such as salami, ham, beef, bacon, and smoked salmon. Avoid salty processed foods such as flavoured instant pasta, canned or dehydrated soup mixes, chips and salted nuts. Margarine, butter and most cheeses are very high in salt so limit your intake or choose lower salt varieties. Use herbs, spices and vinegar or lemon juice to add extra zing to your recipe and reduce the need for salt.
There is no one right way to cook a particular food. However, certain techniques can help you achieve a desired result such as minimizing nutrient loss or enhancing flavour without adding a lot of fat.
If losing weight is on your agenda, then you should eat foods which have negative calories. These foods will require more calories to burn down, than they contain themselves. For example, hot chillies, onions, garlic, etc. are all foods that have negative calories and they also add flavour to your food.
Blanch vegetables rather than peel them, as many nutrients are found close to the skin. Microwave or steam vegetables instead of boiling them. If you like to boil vegetables, retain the vitamin-rich water to use as a stock and do not over boil. Include more stir-fry recipes in your diet. Stir-fried vegetables are cooked quickly to retain their crunch (and associated nutrients).
Not only do they add flavour to your food, but also contain antioxidants that help rev up your metabolism. Try and add at least 2-3 spices to each of your dishes.
Try using ingredients which have unsaturated fats like olive oil, sunflower oil, etc. instead of saturated fats like butter. Saturated fats can cause cholesterol build-up in your arteries and ultimately lead to heart disease.
Avoid long exposure to heat. Fresh or frozen vegetables can be cooked by several different methods like steaming, baking or sautéing them. To retain nutrients and bright colours, cook ‘just until tender.’ Steaming is a good way to cook vegetables.
Browning uncooked rice before adding water can destroy a lot of the thiamine (Vitamin B1) content. Use whole grains to increase the fibre content.