It goes without saying that eating a diet mainly comprised of natural, unprocessed ingredients is going to be more beneficial versus a meal plan heavy in packaged and processed foods.
If you are already taking care to include plenty of fresh, whole ingredients, you want to ensure you are preparing and cooking them in a way to preserve as many as the nutrients as possible.
Cook Your Meals From Scratch
Knowing exactly what is in your food is one of the best things you can do for your health. Although it may seem daunting, once you get a few basic recipes under your belt you’ll grow in confidence in cooking a more varied range of meals. Kitchen appliances like slow cookers and soup makers help to make the process easier. With both appliances you can pretty much add a few ingredients, push a button or two, and you’re good to go!
If you really can’t face finding a suitable recipe and then shopping for the ingredients, a food subscription service is a great alternative. I have personally used Gousto in the past and can recommend them for both amazing tasting meals and customer service.
Steam Your Vegetables
Steaming food is the best way to preserve nutrients and prevent them from escaping during the cooking process. Fresh vegetables definitely taste much better when they have been lightly cooked as opposed to over boiled! Brussel sprouts are pretty much my favourite vegetable (yeah I know, there’s not many of us Brussel lovers!) and the difference in taste between steaming them and boiling them is very noticeable. Having said that, cooking them in an electric pressure cooker also produces excellent results.
Don’t Overcook Food
We’ve all been served soggy vegetables at some point. Not only do they not taste very good, they’ve also lost a great deal of their nutrients. When boiling vegetables they only need to be covered in a little water and boiled for a very short amount of time. The best way to preserve vitamins in vegetables when cooking them is by steaming, microwaving or pressure cooking.
The only time when you should use a lot of water when cooking vegetables is when you are making soup. Although the nutrients will be lost from the vegetable, they will remain in the water and still be consumed. Soups are also a great way to throw a load of vegetables, herbs and spices into a meal – especially ingredients that you might not usually eat!
Use A Pressure Cooker
Although traditional stove top pressure cookers are still widely used today, electric pressure cookers have taken over as one of the most popular ways to cook food fast. Electric pressure cookers are usually packaged alongside other features such as slow cookers and rice cookers, labelled as ‘multi-cookers’ owing to the amount of cooking methods they can master as one device.
Whether you use a stove stop pressure cooker, or a more modern day electric version, this method of cooking is certainly beneficial to both the taste and nutrient levels of your meals. Nutrient values in foods are preserved due to the shorter cooking times, intense pressure, as well as the fact that they can’t evaporate out of the pot (a pressure cooker uses a sealed lid to work.)
Freeze Your Food
Freezing food is a great way to extend it’s life, especially if it is frozen as close to picking time as possible (in the case of fruit and vegetables). This is why buying frozen fruit and vegetables from the supermarket can be not only an economical method (due to less waste), but also just as healthy as freshly bought.
Throw In Some Raw
What can be easier than eating raw food?! Although some people like to eat a completely raw food diet, you can still reap some of the benefits by snacking on some raw food during the day, or incorporating some raw ingredients in your meals. That is why smoothies and juices are so nutrient rich too, none of the nutrients and vitamins are lost during any cooking process. In fact, smoothies and juices are a great way to get some raw goodness inside you quickly.