The Healthiest Cooking Methods

Table of contents

In this post, I will be sharing with you the four healthiest ways to cook your food, as well as two of the most unhealthy cooking methods.

We will take a look at the following:

  • The top 4 healthiest cooking methods.
  • An explanation of each of the different methods with the pros and cons.
  • The two most unhealthy methods of cooking.

ENJOY!

The Healthiest Cooking Methods

The cooking methods you choose affect the nutritional value of the foods you serve.

For example, long exposure to heat reduces the overall vitamin content of your foods but will increase the availability of some antioxidant phytochemicals.

In addition, cooking methods that require added fats or oils tend to add a lot of calories to a meal.

Here’s a look at five different cooking methods and how they affect the nutrient content of your food.

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Heat damages vitamins E and C plus most of the B-complex vitamins, except for riboflavin and niacin.

Cooking in water will cause vitamin C, most of the B-complex vitamins, and potassium to be damaged or leached into the liquid.

Cooking in fat can reduce vitamin A, D, and E.

Not all cooking methods have the same effects on all foods and there’s more to choosing a healthy cooking method.

Since we all take great pleasure when it comes to eating, it is important to consider which method of cooking we choose.

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So without further ado

The healthiest cooking methods according to me:

1) STEAMING:

The method of steaming makes use of minimal water when cooking and the food doesn’t actually make contact with the water.

Of all the cooking methods that involve liquid, steaming appears to be best for nutrient retention.

Even though steaming is probably the healthiest way of cooking, it is important not to overcook your food, as long periods of intense heat can result in the loss of some very important nutrients.

When it comes to steaming vegetables, I like to steam for approximately 8-10minutes (depending on what veggies you are cooking). But the end result should be al dente (cooked but with a bit of a crunch and not overcooked).

This will ensure that the majority of the “goodness” is retained in the food and minimal loss of nutrients occurs.

2) STIR-FRYING:

This is when you heat your frying pan up to high heat, add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil (which is my choice of oil but you can use any oil), and then “flash-fry” the foods stirring continuously.

The cooking time for stir-frying is normally quite short and the food should be al dente when done. Depending on what you are cooking, for me, cooking time is normally about 3-5 minutes.

Keep in mind that I only cook vegetables so if you are cooking meat it will obviously be longer than 3-5 minutes.

 

3) BLANCHING:

Blanching is when you plunge food into boiling water for a very short time.

It is often the first step to preserving foods because it stops the growth of enzymes and helps veggies keep their bright colors.

The nutrient loss is minimal when blanching is used because the cooking time is quite short.

You will lose a bit more nutritional value than the steaming method, but it is still regarded as being one of the “healthier” cooking methods out there.

4) GRILLING/BRAAI:

Grilling is when you cook over charcoals, flames, or heating elements with or without added fats.

Heat sensitive vitamins will almost definitely be lost, but you can minimize the loss by waiting for your coals to cool down a bit and by keeping the cooking time as short as possible.

One benefit of the grilling method-especially when it comes to meat products- is that a large portion of any fat is lost as it drains out. 

5) PRESSURE COOKING:

This method of cooking involves the use of a special pressure cooker that allows for high temperatures.

Even though the temperature that you cook at is generally quite high, the cooking time tends to be quite quick which results in fewer nutrients being lost during the cooking process.

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The most unhealthy method of cooking:

BOILING:

Boiling your vegetables is the worst way to cook, as the hot water literally cooks away the majority of the nutritional content of your veggies.

The cooking time when boiling your foods is generally quite long, which adds to the negative effect on the nutritional aspect of your foods.

For example, when you boil spinach you’ll notice that the water left in the pot after the spinach is cooked is very green in colour. This is because of the healthy chlorophyll and other vitamins getting cooked out of the leaf, resulting in the spinach being almost completely void of all the most beneficial nutrients and vitamins that spinach provides us.

 

SUMMARY

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Let me know if you agree with my list or if you think I have left a cooking method out.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic as it is such an important thing for people to think about when it comes to cooking your food.

Have a look at a post I did on the truth about cooking with a microwave oven.

Please note: comments will only reflect once they have been approved.

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