How you cook your meals can have a big impact on their nutritional content. That's because many vitamins are sensitive to heat and air exposure – vitamin C, all B vitamins and folates in particular. This loss of nutrients increases with longer cooking times and higher temperatures. But there are many cooking methods that minimize cooking time, temperature and the amount of water needed. Learn more about cooking methods that preserve nutrients so that all the healthy vitamins stay for dinner.
Steaming is the gentlest and healthiest way to prepare food. The hot steam cooks your food particularly gently, which means that valuable vitamins and minerals are preserved. Flavours can fully develop and vegetables retain their colour. In short, if you want to cook as healthily as possible, steaming is the right method for you.
Grilling lets you get maximum nutritional value from your vegetables and helps food retain its truest flavour. To preserve as many nutrients as possible, it’s important not to overheat them. Place your vegetables on a grilling tray and coat them with olive oil. This helps break down the plant-cell walls, releasing more antioxidants while the olive oil also helps your body absorb carotenoids.
Baking or roasting your vegetables is a great option for getting rich flavour out of them. Coat them in olive or canola oil before baking and enjoy valuable nutrients from vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and onions.
Sautéing – a method of cooking food that uses a small amount of oil or fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat – can be a good choice for certain vegetables. Kale, for example, contains polyphenols, which are preventative micronutrients, and carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants. These are preserved when sautéing but lost when steaming or boiling.
Cooking in a microwave isn’t only faster but can be a good choice for preserving nutrients, such as vitamin C, in vegetables. Microwaving boasts short cooking times and helps food retain its full taste.
Tips for a healthier diet
The better you treat your food, the better you treat yourself.