Healthy cooking methods are ideal if you’re trying to lose weight or if you’re simply trying not to pile on any extra pounds. It’s true that how you cook affects the fat and calorie content of the finished meal, so it pays to cut back by cooking in other ways. Frying, for example, is very unhealthy because it really jacks up the number of calories and fat grams in a food. Yes, I know it tastes really good, but try out these healthy cooking methods and you can enjoy yummy meals without worrying about the weight gain consequences.
I’m not talking brownies and cookies here. I’m talking about baking foods you’d normally fry. Instead of making batter dipped chicken, try seasoning a couple of breasts with your favorite herbs and spices and then bake them at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. I promise, baking is one of the tastiest and easiest healthy cooking methods out there. You can also bake vegetables, fish and potatoes.
I love roasting vegetables and potatoes! They get this yummy crust on them without also being drenched in oil. You can roast pretty much any vegetable and they’ll have a much better flavor than if you boiled or microwaved them. Simply coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray, spread the vegetables in an even layer on the sheet and then spray the tops with the cooking spray. Season with whatever herbs and spices are your favorite and then roast them at 450 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the density of the vegetable. This works great for potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, mushrooms and squash.
You can stir-fry pretty much any meat and any veggie, which allows you to switch up your meals and stay healthy at the same time. My favorite combination is chicken with carrots and scallions, but beef with snow peas, shrimp with bell peppers and pork with potatoes are also super delicious. When you stir-fry, make sure the ingredients are cut in very even sizes so they cook at the same rate. Also, you’ll need a bit of oil, but not too much. Make sure it’s really hot before putting the ingredients in the pan.
Grilling isn’t just for the summertime. I’ve been known to grill when it was snowing. When you grill food, you need very little cooking fat, so you get lots of flavor without loads of fat and calories. So crank up the barbecue and toss out some thick, juicy steaks, chicken breasts, jumbo shrimp, pork chops or burgers. Add some peppers, mushrooms, onions and potatoes to round out your healthy and yummy meal.
Steaming is a great way to cook vegetables. It retains the delicious flavor and results in a crisp, but tender vegetable that has a great taste and consistency. Fill a pan with water and bring it to a boil. Place a steamer basket filled with your favorite vegetables over the water and steam for about 10 minutes, until the veggies are cooked. This is a great way to cook broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and green beans.
Poaching involves cooking foods in hot water, but not boiling. This gentle way of preparing food leaves you with a healthy meal that also tastes great. You’ve heard of poached eggs, but you can also poach fish, chicken and vegetables. Season the poaching water with seasonings and spices to give your food even more flavor. Or try poaching in chicken or vegetable stock.
True, you do use a bit of oil or butter when you sauté, but it is still much healthier than frying foods. Start with a bit of cooking fat and gently sauté vegetables or potatoes until they are cooked through and have a golden color on the outside. Pair sautéed vegetables with grilled meat or fish and you have a nutritious and low-fat meal you’ll want to cook again and again.
What’s your favorite way to cook healthy food? Will you try one of these new methods tonight?