How to use healthy cooking to master the art of nutritional meals? When we talk about the art of nutritional meals, it does not mean expensive diet foods. It also does not mean exquisite chef techniques and lavish meals.
We mean preparing food with the right balance of nutrients in a health-benefiting way. If you have basic knowledge about all the essential nutrients, you can prepare a healthy meal for your family. It will require minimal effort and result in great taste and benefits.
So, what are some of the essential considerations for preparing a nutritious meal? First, read our simple and easy-to-follow guidelines.
The primary dietary guidelines recommend reducing the intake of salt, sugar, and fat. But these are the main flavor-enhancing ingredients. The flavor is not all about sugary, salty, or fatty foods. A nutritious and healthy meal should not be bland and devoid of flavor.
So, how can you make your meals delicious and healthy? For a start, you can adopt healthy cooking methods that require less fat. In addition, some ways prevent nutritional losses and keep all the goodness of food.
The healthy cooking methods are:
- Broiling & Grilling
In both methods, we lace food directly over the heat. This helps all the excess fats to drip off. Examples include roasted and BBQ foods.
This healthy cooking method involves the slow simmering of foods in any liquid medium such as water or stock. We do it until the food is excellent and tender. It does not require oil or fat. A very well-known example is a poached egg, which we can safely give to a patient without compromising taste.
- Sauteing Stir-frying
Sauteing involves the cooking of tiny and thin pieces of food. A good-quality nonstick and sauteing does not require oil or fat. You can almost always use cooking spray or a small amount of water to prevent burning. Stir-frying involves cooking food rapidly on high flame. It requires minimal oil or cooking spray.
Besides the healthy cooking methods, you can also use various herbs and spices to make your meals delicious.
In addition, it will help you in cutting the intake of salts and sugar. These healthy flavor boosters include the following options.
- Fresh and dried herbs
We should always add fresh herbs towards the end of the healthy cooking process. It will not fade its color and will keep the flavor as well.
We can also use dried herbs at the start of the healthy cooking process. Use only an inch of dried herbs since manufacturers intensely flavor most of these.
- Fresh peppers
Ching freshly collected peppers over the prepared meals enhance the flavor tenfold. However, it is essential to remove the seeds first.
- Dried fruit or vegetables
Some vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, currants, and chilies give an exotic burst of flavor when dried. Adding these to your meals loads it with vitamins and minerals and makes the dishes more delicious.
Healthy cooking contains the right blend of all the nutrients. These nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. Based on nutrients, we categorize foods into primary food groups.
These include Fruits and Vegetables, Proteins, Starches, and Fats and Oils. The right balance is essential to maintain the health of all the family members. However, you do not need to eat all your nutrients in one meal. Instead, you can balance the meals throughout the day or even the week to cover all the family members’ requirements.
A sample of a one-day meal for healthy cooking is as follows.
- Protein Shake
- Chicken Breast
- Mix vegetable salad with avocado
- Black Beans
- Jasmine Rice
- Broccoli or Green Leafy Vegetable
- Brown Potato
You can observe that this meal has covered all the food groups for the entire day. You can add as many options as you want, provided that you meet the daily requirement of calories of each of your family members.
How to build food combinations for healthy cooking
Building food combinations is that aspect of nutrition that has gone through much lesser research. So, it is an area that is based on ocular beliefs and practices. Two of the most well-practiced beliefs are:
- We digest foods from different groups in our bodies at different speeds. That is why we would never combine fast-digesting food with a slow-digesting one.
- Another belief is that some foods require different enzymes at different pH levels to be digested. Therefore, mixing foods causes enzymes to work improperly and hence can lead to indigestion.
In the light of these beliefs, we simplify things for you by deducing some standard rules of healthy cooking and food combinations. Here are those rules:
- Eat fruits on an empty stomach, and you can digest them well.
- Never combine starchy foods with those containing proteins. Your body cannot digest them well together.
- You should also never combine starchy foods with sour or acidic foods. These can upset the pH levels of the digestive system.
- Proteins from animal sources, vegetable sources, and legume sources do not combine them.
- Preferably consume dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt on an empty stomach or 2 to 3 hours after a meal.
Planning nutritious meals while keeping care of the likes and dislikes of all the family members may feel overwhelming. However, plan your meals ahead of time. A weekly menu plan will save you from the hassle of deciding every day.
It will also help you cover all the food groups and the entire family’s favorite foods. We hope our article helps you with healthy cooking while keeping in mind the practices of food combinations.