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Healthier Cooking Methods and Techniques for Healthy Family Meals

Maggie LaBarbera • RN, MBA • Jul 14, 2012

holiday eating healthy foods for children

The way you cook your recipe can really make a difference on how healthy it is.  If you have substituted ingredients for healthier versions but then fry it, you can drastically reduce the meals health benefits.

You can still prepare all your favorite meals using less fat than one of the following methods.

Healthier Cooking Methods

Instead of frying, use one of these cooking methods for a healthier meal.  If you need to fry it, use minimal oil.  All fruits and vegetables can be cooked this way as well.

  • Baked foods don't require additional fat to cook the foods.  If you are baking meats, use a drip pan to remove excess fat away from the meats.
  • Boiled foods do not require additional fat.  Try to minimize the amount of time vegetables and fruits are boiled so you don't lose too many nutrients.  You can also use the water from boiling in the recipe to add back some of the nutrients healthier cooking methodslost.
  • Steamed foods is great for cooking vegetables. Steaming is good because it helps keep the nutrients in the vegetables and fruits.
  • Stir-fry only requires a little bit of oil.  Vegetables are cooked quickly and so they keep their texture, flavor, color and nutrients.
  • Sauté foods lightly with very little oil.
  • poached foods don't require additional fat.  Try to let the water boil so you don't lose vitamins and minerals into the water.
  • Roasted meats and vegetables is like baking but requires higher temperatures.  Use a drip pan for meats so that they can accumulate away from the foods.  Avoid using the fat to baste your meats, instead use fat-free juices like lemon juice.
  • Grilled or broiled foods are good because you do not need to add any fat to cook it.  Try to avoid charring the food.
  • Stewed foods are a great way to add more vegetables to a meal.  You don't need added fat and stewed foods retain the nutrients.

Some general guidelines

Fruits:  If you are cooking with fruits, resist the temptation to add more sugar. Fruits are naturally sweet.  If you choose fruits that are in season, they will be at their sweetest!

Vegetables:  Cook quickly to minimize the loss of nutrients.  The longer they are cooking, the more vitamins and minerals are being lost.  The water you used to cook the vegetables will have the nutrients, if you can use some of that water in your recipe, you can add back some of the lost nutrients.

Grains:  Grains can easily be cooked in a pot or even rice cooker.  To get the most nutrients out of the whole grains, soak 1 cup of grains with 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt.   Soak it overnight like you would beans.   Soaking the grains makes the nutrients in the grains easier to digest.

Protein - Remove the fatty portions off the meat or poultry before you start cooking.









See All Our Nutrition Articles

Written by Maggie LaBarberaWritten on Jul 14, 2012Last updated on Aug 05, 2014




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