Making healthy food choices is one of the best things you can do for your body. It means getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals that support good health and means you have energy for your day and are able keep weight gain at bay. There are some healthy foods that you may be preparing all wrong. Don't worry - I'm just as guilty. Here are some items you should be preparing differently if you want to get the most out of them.
1. You Should Be Soaking Your Beans
Soaking your beans before cooking them allows them to retain more nutrients. The longer you boil the beans, the more of the vitamins and minerals that leach out. Soaking the beans cuts down on cooking time and preserves most of the nutrition.
2. You Can Eat Tomatoes Cooked Too
Raw tomatoes are certainly a healthy and delicious choice, but cooking them helps your body absorb the antioxidant lycopene, which can fight certain types of cancer and preserve your health. Enjoy tomatoes in soup, chili and pasta sauce.
3. You Shouldn't Stir-Fry Broccoli
Broccoli is a staple in Asian cooking, but the experts say that stir-frying it slashes the vitamin C it contains. You need that vitamin C to stay healthy and fight illnesses. Instead, steam the broccoli and add it just before serving your stir-fry.
4. You Shouldn't Be Boiling Your Veggies
Yes, you should definitely be eating your veggies, but boiling them removes so many of the nutrients. Plus, they get all mushy and unappetizing. To preserve the vitamins and minerals, and the natural crunch of your vegetables, roast them instead.
5. You Don't Eat Your Citrus Skin
You read that right! The skin of your lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits are super concentrated with nutrients so you definitely don't want to throw them away. Zest the skins into marinades, sauces and salad dressings to fully reap the benefits.
6. You Should Eat the Pepper Seeds
If you're anything like me, you toss the seeds of your peppers instead of using them. Turns out that seeds have health benefits and enhance the flavor of what you're cooking. Use some of the seeds and your body will thank you.
7. You Need to Use the Pineapple Core
Natural inclination tells you to toss the pineapple core because you don't eat it. However, the core is a great source of bromelain and vitamin C, so consider chopping it up and adding it to your water for a dose of nutrients and flavor.
8. You Use Chunks of Garlic
Yes, garlic is fabulous for adding flavor to all kinds of dishes, but you get more of its great taste when you crush or mince it. You also get more of the great antioxidants in garlic when you chop it smaller and spread it throughout your meal instead of concentrating it all in one bite.
9. You Don't Eat the Broccoli Stems
My kids always complain when I steam the broccoli stems with the florets, but it turns out this is a healthy option. The stems contain more calcium, vitamin C and fiber than the florets so including them boosts your nutrient intake.
10. You Overcook Your Pasta
I'll be the first to admit that I prefer my pasta a little softer than al dente. However, experts say that overcooking your noodles means many of the nutrients they contain end up in the water.
11. You Use Dried Herbs over Fresh
Dried herbs are great when fresh isn't available, but you only want to use them in items you cook, not as a garnish or flavor enhancer on finished foods. For example, dried parsley is fine in a pasta sauce, but doesn't work sprinkled on a freshly prepared cut of salmon.
12. You Don't Let Your Onions and Garlic Rest
When you chop your garlic and onions, you allow healthy plant compounds to be released. Letting them sit for a few minutes before tossing them in the pot enhances the process, which stops once the garlic and onions are heated.
Which foods have you been cooking wrong?