Good Monday morning everyone! I am spending some time this morning looking through new, healthy recipes to try (I’ll post the recipe if I find a truly delicious one). Yesterday I wasn’t exactly a picture of nutritional health, thanks to some leftover Jalapeño kettle cooked chips (that are delicious BTW) and Chinese food for dinner (although it’s healthier Chinese than you usually come across, and I ordered best I could – shrimp and broccoli- I still feel like a sodium balloon this morning).
This led me to thinking about mistakes people often make when trying to eat and cook in a healthy manner, and I thought I’d share some of the most common slip ups. ‘Mistakes’ is probably too harsh of a word to use. To be more accurate, I should have titled this ‘tips to make your cooking more healthful’, but without further adieu, let’s get started:
1. Cooking with Olive Oil
Why? Olive Oil is as healthy as people say (rich in mono-unsaturated fats, contains polyphenols, etc) but when you olive oil is exposed to high temperatures (for EVOO- extra virgin olive oil, that is anything above 375 degrees), it begins to break down the fatty acids and glycerols that make it healthy and delicious in the first place. So save your EVOO for use in drizzling over salads, breads and cooked veggies, and use broth to sauté and cook your food. Or, cook with EVOO, but just keep the temperature under 375 degrees.
2. Boiling Vegetables
Why? Although an easy way to cook vegetables, boiling rids them of many of wonderful nutrients. Water-soluble nutrients are drawn out of the vegetable, into the water, and are usually thrown out. Plus, boiling is an easy way to overcook (and de-flavor) vegetables. Instead, try steaming, roasting, grilling or stir frying them. Or, if boiling is a must, use the leftover water in a sauce or soup to make sure you don’t waste those nutrients.
3. Peeling your Fruit and Vegetables
Why? The peels of fruits and veggies are usually where most of the nutrients and a healthy dose of fiber can be found. The simple solution? Don’t peel them 🙂 Use the test, that if you can easily pierce the skin with your nail, it’s OK to eat it with the peel intact. Just be sure to give the fruit or veggie a thorough scrub down first. Some fruits and veggies you probably peel, but don’t need to? Carrots, potatoes, kiwis, peaches, eggplant… my dad even eats the lemon slice in his water, peel and all! At first I thought he was crazy, but I tried it, and it really isn’t too bad.
4. Under Seasoning your Food
Why? Congrats to you on focusing on cooking in a more healthful way, but if your healthy food is tasteless and boring, you probably won’t stick with it for long. Since you don’t want to rely on the unhealthy taste makers (fat, salt, etc), it’s important to make sure you use other means of deliciousness. Spend some time in the kitchen experimenting with new herbs and spices. Take it to the next level and grow some on your back porch so you always have fresh herbs available for cooking. I have fresh dill, basil, parsley, mint and wonderful cilantro all growing steps away from my kitchen. I’ll admit, I don’t know how to use them all yet, but I’m having fun learning!
5. You take Meat out of the Fridge and Directly into the Oven, Grill, Etc.
Why? Doing this will result in uneven cooking. Luckily, it’s an easy fix. Next time take your meat (steak, chicken, pork roast, etc) out of the fridge 15-30 minutes (depending on how big the cut is) before you want to cook it. This will allow it to come to room temperature and cook more evenly.
I have a few nutritious and delicious go-to recipes I use, but I’m still learning how to be more creative with my healthy cooking. I am always on the hunt for new recipes and tips. Do you have any healthy cooking tips you could share with me?