Using healthy cooking methods

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The cooking methods you choose affect the nutritional value of the foods you serve. For example, long exposure to heat reduces the overall vitamin content of foods, but increases the availability of some antioxidant phytochemicals. In addition, cooking methods that require added fats or oils tend to add a lot of calories to a meal. Here’s a look at several different cooking methods and how they affect the nutrient content of your food.

Several easy cooking methods can result in healthier eating.
• Invest in nonstick cookware
Instead of pouring oil in a pan when you cook, use nonstick cookware. One tablespoon of vegetable oil has 120 calories and 14 grams of fat. Or use vegetable cooking sprays. A one-second spray has negligible calories and less than 1 gram of fat.
• Hold the oil
Sauté vegetables such as onions, mushrooms or celery in a small amount of wine, broth, water, soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
• Think flavor, not fat
Keep a supply of onions, fresh garlic, ginger root, Dijon mus- tard, fresh lemons and limes, flavored vinegars, sherry or other wines, cornstarch (to thicken sauces), and plain fat-free yogurt.
• Try different cooking methods
Microwave or steam vegetables. Then dress them up with flavored vinegars, herbs and spices. Cook fish in parchment paper or foil to seal in flavors and juices.
• Modify recipes
In most recipes, you can reduce sugar, salt and fat by one-third to one-half without sacrificing taste.
• Minimize meat
Buy lean cuts of meat. Decrease the amount of meat in casseroles and stews by one-third and add more vegetables, rice or pasta. Or replace meat with beans.

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