Best cook­ing tech­niques for a healthy meal

Panay News - - MAJOR STORIES - By Pinky Rodolo Cam­pos, LPT

SURE, you can find many cook­ing tech­niques that cooks and chefs will de­clare as best. Sure, you will be con­tent and happy with the out­come and with the food served to you us­ing such cook­ing tech­niques pro­claimed to have worked.

But as a teacher, it mat­ters where we stand on things – we must be a con­sis­tent in­flu­encer. It is our so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to not only teach our stu­dents about what’s best for this world but also keep them from bad in­flu­ences at home and from their sur­round­ings.

In the Tech­ni­cal Vo­ca­tional Liveli­hood ( TVL) track of the K- 12 cur­ricu­lum in high school, stu­dents may be taught about the best cook­ing tech­niques, par­tic­u­larly in their Cook­ery class, but if we don’t present to them the idea of a healthy meal or diet, them learn­ing this later in life is as bad as a soft drink habit. Learn­ing just the cook­ing tech­niques with­out con­sid­er­ing the kind of food that is go­ing to be served forms a taste­ful bias that will linger for many years. Think of a child­hood food that gives you nos­tal­gic or com­fort­ing feel­ing. What we teach stu­dents in Cook­ery will al­ways find a way to their heart. What makes them happy is not some­thing that can make them al­ways healthy. Health is (al­ways) wealth.

There are plenty of ways to cook up juicy and fla­vor­ful food with­out adding tons of un­nec­es­sary ex­tras. While most peo­ple know to ditch the fryer when cook­ing up healthy meals, many don’t think about how their cook­ing method af­fects the nu­tri­tional makeup of their menu. Heat can break down and de­stroy 15 to 20 per­cent of some vi­ta­mins in veg­eta­bles – es­pe­cially vitamin C, fo­late and potas­sium.

Con­trary to most un­proven claims about mi­crowave foods, some re­search sug­gests that it may ac­tu­ally be the health­i­est way to cook be­cause of its short cook­ing times re­sult­ing to min­i­mal nu­tri­ent de­struc­tion. Mi­crowaves cook food by heat­ing it from the in­side out. They emit ra­dio waves that make the mol­e­cules in food move all round gen­er­at­ing heat and cook­ing the food. While mi­crowave cook­ing can some­times cause food to dry out, keep things moist by splash­ing the item with a bit of wa­ter be­fore heat­ing, or by plac­ing a wet pa­per towel over the top of your dish. Just make sure to use a mi­crowave- safe con­tainer.

Steam­ing any­thing from fresh veg­gies to fish fil­lets al­lows them to cook in their own juices and re­tain all that nat­u­ral good­ness. Again, there is no need for fat- laden ad­di­tions to up the mois­ture. The only down­side? Steam­ing doesn’t al­ways taste so great. So many peo­ple get steam­ing wrong, lead­ing them to dis­like veg­gies even more. It’s al­ways good to add a lit­tle sea­son­ing first, whether that’s a sprin­kle of salt or a squeeze of lemon juice. But I think peo­ple should learn by now, and I wish stu­dents can ap­pre­ci­ate i t early on – that what­ever tastes bit­ter ac­tu­ally makes the body health­ier ( e. g., vi­ta­mins or medicines, gourd, some leafy veg­gies).

While sautéing does re­quire some oil in the pan, it should only be a mod­er­ate amount – just enough to get a nice sear on your meat and veg­gies. It’s ef­fec­tive for bite- size pieces of meat, grains like rice and quinoa, and thin­cut veg­gies like bell pep­pers, car­rots, and snow peas. Some stud­ies ac­tu­ally found that cook­ing veg­gies in a lit­tle bit of olive oil may in­crease the an­tiox­i­dant ca­pac­ity of the food. This may come as no sur­prise, as olive oil is a large part of the heart- healthy Mediter­ranean diet.

Lastly, the best cook­ing tech­nique for a health­ier meal are those that are ac­tu­ally not cooked. Raw food di­ets have gained tons of at­ten­tion, and for good rea­son. Many stud­ies sug­gest there are ben­e­fits to i ncor­po­rat­ing more raw foods into the diet: Eat­ing the rain­bow con­sis­tently re­duces the risk of can­cer, but the jury’s out on whether raw or cooked is re­ally best over­all. (

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