5 Best Ways to Cook Food

If you’re trying to cut back on your microwave use, there is no reason you need to subsist on raw cauliflower or kale. Joy Feldman, NC, an integrative holistic-health nutritional consultant and health coach, provides her ranking of the healthiest and most flavorful cooking methods.

1. Steaming
Not only does steaming preserve flavor, aroma, vitamins and antioxidants, it also decreases the volume of vegetables so you can eat more. USDA researchers discovered that lightly steaming greens such as collards and broccoli increases their ability to bind to bile acids more than if consumed raw. With lower levels of circulating bile acids in the blood, the body uses cholesterol to make more bile, which in turn lowers cholesterol numbers and may confer heart-health benefits. Multistack electric steamers let you cook several items at once and are more energy efficient than stovetop steaming.

Creamy Broccoli Soup
Organic Pumpkin Pie

2. Stir-frying
The intense heat from the stovetop minimizes nutrient loss and helps maintain vegetable texture and color. High-quality woks are great for rapid, even heating at high temperatures, but you can also use a large, heavy, flat-bottom frying pan for stir-frying just about anything.

Watercress-Walnut Stir-Fry
Sugar-Snap Stir-Fry

3. Sautéing
Sautéing involves cooking food in a moderate amount of fat (oil, butter, etc.) in a pan over direct heat. Cooking times tend to be longer than stir-frying, potentially resulting in slightly bigger nutrient losses.

Sauteed Artichokes with Butter and Garlic
Mustard Greens and Yellow Squash Sauté

4. Slow Cooker
Although heating for an extended period of time, even at low temperatures, will result in some nutrient loss, most of those nutrients can be salvaged if you wind up eating the sauce or cooking liquid in which the food was cooked.

Potatoes and Peas in Red Curry Sauce
Broccoli Soup with Garlic and Olive Oil

5. Pressure cooking
Exposure to intense heat and surrounding liquids will cause some nutrient degradation, but the rapid cooking time will help offset this. Again, if you eat any surrounding sauces, you’ll recoup some of the nutrients.

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Feldman deems baking, boiling, grilling, roasting and toasting as cooking methods to use less often, since they do a comparatively poor job at preserving nutrients and, in the case of grilling, can produce unhealthy compounds. Deep-frying is, in her view, the least desirable preparation method. “In addition to exposing you to inflammatory oxidized fats, frying foods produces cancer-causing chemicals,” says Feldman.

On the other hand, there’s an appropriate time and place for all cooking methods, so when in doubt, let your culinary sensibilities (as well as your nutritional conscience) be your guide.

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109 comments

Valentina R.
Valentina R.4 years ago

Thanks.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam4 years ago

noted

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad4 years ago

Cook both ways!

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.4 years ago

thanks

LMj Sunshine

thank you for sharing

Joe R.
Joe R.4 years ago

Love to wok!

Talya Honor
Tal H.4 years ago

AH! Def going to saute more! :)

Ammy G.
Ammy G.4 years ago

I boil all my food (it's convenient), but I always drink the water in which the food is boiled too. I hope that salvages some of the nutrients for me?

Margaret F.
Margaret M. F.4 years ago

Thank-you for the informative article.

Susan A.
Susan A.4 years ago

Thanks for the clear list of the best usage of the different cooking methods...I do use microwave more than I used to because I understood it saved energy....