Cooking healthy at home does not have to involve a lot of time or cost, despite what many think. There are many healthy cooking methods that you can easily implement in your own kitchen without purchasing expensive kitchen gadgets and appliances.
By using these healthy cooking methods, you can greatly decrease the amount of fat and calories in your meals. For example, if you fry food using vegetable or canola oil, you are adding an extra 120 calories to your dish for every tablespoon of oil you use. With some healthier cooking methods, you can also eliminate the fat that occurs naturally in some food items.
Try experimenting with these healthy cooking methods to prepare some of your favorite dishes, or have some fun creating your own recipes to enjoy:
- Baking is the process of heating food by hot air in an oven. The average baking temperature is 350°F. The position of your food on your oven racks is very important when baking to prevent the food from burning – for the best result, place food on the center rack. Food placed on a higher rack may brown too much on top, whereas food placed on a lower rack may burn on the bottom. These days, baking is not just for making bread and desserts – it can also be used for meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and fruit.
- Roasting is similar to baking, but the food is cooked at a higher temperature and is usually only used for meat and poultry. To prevent the food from drying out while cooking, it is a good idea to baste the food every 20 minutes or so. Food can be roasted on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan; however, a roasting pan is recommended – this way, you can place a rack inside the roasting pan so the fat in the food can drip away during cooking.
- Stewing involves simmering food items in a small amount of liquid, such as the food’s own juices, wine, water, or broth – the liquid can then be used as a sauce for the dish you are preparing. This cooking method is normally used for smaller pieces of meat for use in a stew.
- Braising is similar to stewing, except that it is generally used for larger pieces of meat. Sometimes, meat is browned using a dry-heat method (such as sautéing) before it is braised – this helps creates a browner color and more flavorful taste.
- Sautéing can be done in a non-stick pan without adding any fat. However, to add some more taste, you may want to add some broth or water to the pan, or apply some cooking spray to the pan.
- Steaming is one of the easiest cooking methods. It involves placing the food in a perforated basket suspended above simmering liquid. If you want to add flavor to the food as it cooks, use a liquid such as broth or add some seasonings to the water.
- Broiling involves cooking food below strong heat, which enables the food to cook very quickly. To prevent the food from drying out, the food can be lightly oiled.
- Grilling is the opposite of broiling, as the food is cooked above, and not below, strong heat. Grilling can be done both outdoors and indoors with the right type of grill.
What is your favorite type of healthy cooking method, and how do you use it to prepare your favorite meals? Post your comments below!