Healthy meals that include fresh vegetables can provide your body with key nutrients like fiber, potassium, folic acid and vitamins A and C. Increasing fresh produce in your diet also may help with weight control, blood pressure, and reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke. However, the way you prepare and cook your veggies can make a difference in the amount of nutrients your body receives.
There are three main things that deplete veggies of their nutrients when cooking: temperature, time and water. So the lower the temperature, less time exposed to heat and less water used, the better. So by this standard, boiling your vegetables is the worst offender – you toss out the nutrients in the water.
Healthy Ways to Cook Vegetables
Steaming veggies can preserve nutrients, color, shape, and texture, without having to add any unnecessary fats through ingredients like oils or butter. To steam, place food into a steam basket and cover over simmering water. Since food is not directly touching the water, vegetables retain more of their nutrients. Just watch steaming closely so as not to overcook your veggies.
Stir-frying is a good option because while the heat is high, it’s quick. That sears the vegetables quickly, locking in important nutrients and maintaining their color and texture. Be sure to use small amounts of oil and choose healthier varieties (like olive or vegetable oil).
It’s a myth that microwaving your vegetables destroys their nutrients. In fact, microwaving is one of the simplest and quickest methods — and there is no fat added. Just be sure you don’t add much water.
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