Sometimes, it’s not so much the food we are eating that is the problem, but how it was prepared. If you are looking to eat more healthily, one of the first steps is to re-evaluate your cooking methods.
Try some of the following methods which don’t rely on added fats.
Yes, really. Microwaving works by simply heating up water molecules in the food, so not only is it a healthy way to cook, it’s fast and easy. Just make sure that you are not over- or under-cooking anything, as it can be a little bit tricky to tell at first with the microwave.
Boiling means completely submerging the food in boiling liquid – sometimes water, but it can also be a broth or a sauce. Boiling is a great way to cook eggs, vegetables, pasta, rice, and in some cases meats without adding excess fat or calories.
Boiled food often turns out tender. Be careful not to over-boil, as “tender” can quickly turn to “mushy.”
Roasting means to cook something uncovered in an oven, with very little or no liquid involved. Roasting works very well for vegetables and meats, and in fact the two are often roasted together.
When roasting, the ingredients usually create their own juices, so there’s no need to add extra moisture. The trick is keeping an eye on the meal and making sure it doesn’t over- or under-cook. For meats, a digital thermometer is a great idea, as it can let you know exactly when your meal is ready.
Grilling is popular for meats, fish, vegetables, and even some fruits. With grilling, foods are cooked over charcoal or a gas fire. The food is placed on a grate, which allows excess fat to drip down, thereby reducing the overall fat content of the meal.
Grilling is often done outdoors, but for those who do not have access to a grill set-up, don’t forget that your oven has a “broil” setting, which is a very similar cooking technique that can be done indoors.
When something is sautéed it is cooked on the stove top, typically in a large frying pan, but with a small amount of liquid in the pan. This will usually be broth, light sauce, or plain water.
Sautéing is considered a healthier alternative to frying, as frying relies on oil to do the cooking.
A slow cooker or crockpot is a great way to get healthy, fork-tender meals without too much work. Raw ingredients are added to the slow cooker about 4 to 8 hours prior to meal time, and they are allowed to slowly cook all day.
The finished product is incredibly juicy and flavorful, and no extra fat or oil needs to be added to achieve that result.
Braising is somewhat similar to sautéing, except that braising typically takes place in the oven, not on the stove top. A combination of dry heat from the oven and liquid from a broth or light sauce is used to thoroughly cook the entrée.
Steaming works very well for vegetables, seafood, and some meats. With steaming, the food is usually placed in a basket or rack that is suspended over boiling water and then covered with a lid. This method does not add any excess fat, nor does it require the food to be submerged.
Different cooking techniques can expand your menu to include more interesting foods. When you enjoy the foods you eat, you are not as subject to boredom or cravings. Try expanding your cooking techniques so that you can introduce a wider variety of healthy foods into your diet.