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 Diet & Nutrition

June 2012
What Dictates Your Cooking Methods?
Shwetha Mabel
What we eat is important. Equally important is also how we eat. Both of them have a significant bearing on the health and weight of an individual. In general, how we cook is cultural – it depends on the knowledge that is passed on from one generation to another. We hardly question the methods of cooking.

We assume that since what we are eating is nutritious, the food will retain its nutrient value no matter how it’s cooked and served.

Healthy cooking is all about preparing food in a way that it does not add fat to the food but boosts its nutritional value without compromising on its Shwetha Mabel flavour. Frying vegetables, over what is the necessary limit, to make them crispy, sucks the nutrients out of them. Similarly, deep frying chicken or fish makes them calorie-heavy and unhealthy. So, irrespective of what your favoured cooking option is, allow the food you choose to eat to dictate the best method of cooking a given meal. Here is your low-down.

Steaming is an excellent way to eat healthy as there is no need to add oil. Simply place the food or the mix of raw ingredients in a perforated basket and suspend above simmering water. Vegetables like beans, carrots, beets and sweet potatoes and fish can be steamed to retain their nutrients.

Baking is not just meant for desserts. Chicken, fish, vegetables and even fruits can be baked. It requires the addition of a little oil or fat. Baking vegetables and fruits gives them a crispy taste. Baking is a healthy alternative to frying chicken and fish.

Roasting is similar to baking, except that it is done at higher temperatures. Roasting is an excellent way of cooking vegetables, as it preserves both nutrients and flavours. When you roast meat, keep it healthy by coating it with olive oil and placing it on a rack so that the fat drips off

Microwaving is a low-fat and timesaving cooking technique. Use microwave-safe glasses and utensils to cook food by microwaving. Almost any food can be cooked in a healthy way using this technique.

Get Started On Your Cooking Options
Bake An Apple Preheat oven to 190˚C.
Core an apple with a paring knife.
Remove seeds with a spoon.
Fill the core with a mixture of raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and little butter.
Add boiling water to the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
Roast A Chicken Preheat oven to 235˚C. Marinate chicken breast with your favourite masalas combined with olive oil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
Steam Some Veggies Place a medley of sliced carrots, cauliflower florets and green beans ina steamer basket. Steam for 5-6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and coriander leaves.
Microwave Fish Marinate fish fillet with your favourite masalas and set aside for 30 minutes. Place fish fillet in a large microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4-9 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillet) until juices are clear and fish flakes in the centre.
Shwetha Mabel is Fitness & Nutrition Enthusiast, Hyderabad

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