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There are plenty of ways to cook up juicy and flavorful food without adding tons of unnecessary extras.Eating healthy food does not mean giving up favourite and tasty foods. Favourite recipes can be adapted easily to provide a healthier alternative. There are many ways to make meals healthier. Limiting fats, sugars and salt, including plenty of vegetables, fruit, grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy makes the person partially healthy. Foods with added fats, sugars or salt are less healthy than food in which these are found naturally. A healthy diet depends on hygienic preparation of food and safe storage to reduce the risk of food borne diseases.Apart from the ingredients added, cooking method also contributes to term the particular recipe healthy or unhealthy.

BAKING : 

Unlike cakes and bread, seafood, poultry, lean meat, vegetables and fruits can also be baked to maintain the nutritional content.It does not usually require more amount of oil, just a splash of oil is sufficient for cooking. It can be cooked by covering it with a lid or without a lid. Eg – cakes

BRAISING :

Braising involves browning the ingredient first in a pan on top of the stove, and then slowly cooking it partially covered with a small quantity of liquid, such as water or broth. In some recipes, the cooking liquid is used later to form a flavorful, nutrient-rich sauce. The food to be braised is first browned in a small amount of fat in an open pan, and then it is cooked further with the pan covered; meats are frequently braised over a bed of vegetables. A small amount of liquid may be added after browning is completed.  Red meat & organ meat are generally cooked by braising

BROILING & GRILLING :

Broiling and grilling exposes food to direct heat. Both methods allow fat to drip away from the food.It includes a simple procedure for cooking. Just mariante the food and place them on the grills and lie the grills above a bed of charcoal embers or gas-heated rocks or  broiler rack. Both veg and non veg are exclusively cooked by broiling and grilling as steaks.

POACHING :

Poaching is easier and yet a nutritious process of cooking. Just boil the water and add the food to it. Simmer the flame and let it cook for few minutes. Majority of the times, the food retains its shape in this process which can be eye pleasing while serving and eating. Minimal water should be used in this process. This is a technique that is used to cook delicate proteins such as fish, chicken, and eggs, as well as some fruits. 

ROASTING :

Roasting is similar to baking, but needs a very high temperature. Sea foods, Meat,vegetables and seeds can be perfectly roasted. In this process, the food is cooked until the fat drips off and needs no additional oil for cooking. This method improves the texture of ingredients by browning or caramelizing them, creating a new layer of flavour. It takes advantage of the natural sugar present in ingredients to create a more concentrated taste. Roasting also retains more nutrients than other cooking methods, especially in the case of vegetables. Non Veg food tastes much better while roasted. Some vegetables such as potato, carrots, brinjal, pumpkin, cauliflower, yam can be roasted easily and Roasted water chestnut is a popular winter snack.

SAUTEING :

This process quickly cooks small or thin pieces of food. It requires minimal oil for cooking. It involves the transfer of heat from pan to food, usually lubricated by a thin coating of oil that both prevents food from sticking to the pan and aids in the conduction of heat, browning the surface of meat or vegetables. It adds a vivid taste to food. Almost all food items are sauteed initially and is the most common procedure which is seen in every household.

SEARING :

Searing quickly browns the surface of food at a high temperature, locking in flavor and adding a crusty texture to meats and other proteins. This method can be used in combination with baking and basting. All the non veg foods are the best example for searing.

STEAMING :

One of the simplest cooking techniques is steaming food in a perforated basket suspended above simmering liquid. It softens the food faster and has a special quality. It “ locks in moisture” and “seals in the juices”.  Idli, Momo’s, Patra, Biryani rice are the best example for steaming procedure.

STIR FRYING :

Stir-frying quickly cooks small, uniform-sized pieces of food while they’re rapidly stirred and need minimal or NO oil. Food is generally tossed and cooked evenly and promotes retaining color, texture and nutritional value. It displays divine smell, attractive sheen and distinctive flavour. This is the most commonly used procedure in every household. Majority of the Indian foods use this technique in preparation.

INGREDIENT MODIFICATION :

Apart from these healthy cooking processes, certain interventions can make the diet more tasty and nutritious. Having a healthy diet has a lot of benefits. It can help to maintain desired weight, biochemical parameters and prevent certain health conditions. A healthy diet keeps the body running on a daily basis. Choices made on the intake of food even considering liquid and juices along with solid food proves to be beneficial. They should add up to a balanced, nutritious diet depending upon  gender, age, and activity level.The different ways to make a food healthy and nutritious are

ALTERNATIVES FOR FAT

  • Oil sprays or oil brushes should be used to limit the addition of oil in preparation.
  • Cook in liquids (such as stock,lemon juice, fruit juice, vinegar or water) instead of oil.
  • Use low-fat yoghurt, low-fat milk, evaporated skim milk or cornstarch instead of cream in sauces or soups.
  • When browning vegetables, put them in a hot pan then spray with oil, rather than adding the oil first to the pan. This reduces the amount of oil that vegetables absorb during cooking.
  • Use chutneys and vinegars in place of sour creams, butter and creamy sauces.
  • Choose lean meat, nuts, seeds, fish, soy, avocado instead of processed foods and high dairy foods
  • Switching of cooking oil is mandatory to treat body with various fatty acids

RETAINING THE NUTRIENTS

Water-soluble vitamins are delicate and easily destroyed during preparation and cooking. To minimise nutrient losses:

  • Scrub vegetables rather than peel them, as many nutrients are found close to the skin. Ex: Carrot
  • Microwave or steam vegetables instead of boiling them.
  • If you like to boil vegetables, use a small amount of water and do not over-boil them.
  • Include more stir-fry recipes in your diet. Stir-fried vegetables are cooked quickly to retain their crunch (and associated nutrients).

CUTTING DOWN SALT

Salt is a common flavour enhancer, but a high salt diet contributes to high blood pressure. 

  • Don’t automatically add salt to food, taste it first.
  • Add a few drops of olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice to cooked vegetables as it enhances flavours in the same way as salt.
  • Avoid processed foods, such as flavoured instant pasta or noodles, soup mixes, chips, salted nuts, Margarine, butter, cheese. Limit soy sauce, tomato sauce, mayonnaise.

HERBS

Culinary herbs are leafy plants that add flavour and colour to all types of meals. They are also rich in health-protective phyto-oestrogens and  replace the flavour of salt and oil. They should be added at last and should be added in soups, breads, desserts, drinks, salads. Certain vegetables and fruits such as mushrooms, tomatoes, chilies, cherries, berries, melon, mustard consist of a zestful flavour when dried. 

Many of us are unaware that cooking patterns also affect the nutritional content of food and it needs to be altered. Thus depending upon the occasion and type of food item that needs to be cooked, cooking procedure should be opted. Inclusion and exclusion of certain food ingredients should be done which may enhance and deteriorate the nutritional value as well as the taste of food. Opting healthy cooking habits is the most important ingredient in the recipe for optimal health as It increases the amount of nutrients and decreases the toxins.

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