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Make the most of your meals
When we think of a healthy diet, we almost always ask ourselves two questions: How much should I eat, what should I eat? But we rarely ask ourselves another very important question: How should I eat? The way we cook food can also have a positive or negative effect on our health. Why spend more on wild salmon or locally grown broccoli if we then spoil it in the kitchen?
Here are some simple tips to improve the nutritional value of your dishes at home:
- Don't cook the vegetables if you're not going to make a soup, a stew or a puree. When you drain the water you will be losing most of the vitamin B and most of the minerals. Steam the vegetables instead. This is an excellent cooking method that retains the nutritional properties and it's also convenient, fast and clean.
- The truth is that just a steamed vegetable is very bland. Stir fry the vegetables in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and spices to enhance the flavor, add a little salt, this method greatly increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (they dissolve in fat) such as carotenes (vitamin A) E or K.
- Only fry occasionally, and try to use extra virgin or virgin olive oil, as it tolerates high temperatures very well without oxidizing. Animal fats or soybean, corn or sunflower oils are not recommended.
- For dressing virgin or extra virgin olive oil, is clearly the best option. Use just the right amount to make the dish tasty, but don't overdo it. A spray bottle will help so you use less.
- Don't burn or cook the food too much: this produces substances such as acrylamide that is suspected of increasing some types of cancer. When frying or roasting, cook until the outer layer is golden and crisp, but without burning it.
- Similarly, meat and fish are best cooked until just done. Overcooking can reduce the nutritional values as well as being less tasty. However, they must always be properly cooked to avoid food safety problems: for example poultry (chicken, turkey) which must be cooked to the bone. Cut into small pieces to make this easier, without burning the outside.
- Use spices to enhance taste and add just a little salt. Use low-sodium salt and always do so in moderation, gradually getting used to using less.
- You must also reduce the amount of sugar and sweeteners you add to dishes. Use low-sodium salt and always do so in moderation, gradually getting used to using less. Your sense of taste will slowly get used to less sweetness. You can also try sweetening some dishes with small pieces of fruit or dried fruit.
And remember: an important part of the Mediterranean diet is to enjoy sitting at a table and socializing. Avoid eating in front of screens or while working, and focus your attention on the food taste, texture and aromas.
Experiment in the kitchen and enjoy eating! Try the Practicooking recipes. You'll have fun preparing healthy dishes that the whole family can enjoy.