Although home cooking may soon be a lost art, as more and more families rely on fast food and restaurant meals, cooking at home is still the best way to insure a healthy diet.
When you cook your own meals, you have the advantage of knowing, not only what ingredients go into your meals, but also how the food is handled from the time you purchase it until you use up the last of the leftovers.
If you are interested in healthy cooking, there are some simple things you can do, both to increase the nutrient value in your recipes and to help keep yourself and your family from suffering the nasty effects of food-borne illness.
1. Wash vegetables and fruits (including those with a removable outer skin) with a food grade veggie wash. (DON’T USE DISHSOAP!)
2. Use a separate cutting board for meats and vegetables, and wash utensils with hot soapy water to avoid cross-contamination of these foods.
3. Steam vegetables lightly to maintain their optimum nutrition.
4. Substitute at least half whole grain flour for white flour in baking recipes.
5. Use more fresh herbs and less salt (especially processed salt) in your food.
6. Bake foods instead of frying whenever possible.
7. Use olive oil for cooking instead of other less healthy fats like margarine or polyunsaturated oils.
8. Replace up to half or more of the mayonnaise or sour cream in many recipes with organic fat-free Greek yogurt.
9. Use refrigerated leftovers within a week.
10. Partially cook meat before grilling, and avoid charring the meat to reduce the production of carcinogens.
Legumes are a special category of food, that require special healthy cooking tips.
Here are some tips for healthy cooking with legumes:
Cover washed and sorted beans with water and allow them to soak overnight. Then drain the water, rinse the beans, add more water and cook according to directions. See description of each bean below for specific cooking times.
Cover washed and sorted beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes, and cover and let stand for one hour. Discard soaking water, rinse, cover with new water and cook as directed.