Buying fresh veggies and fruits, the healthiest Groceries, and guilt-free Snacks is not enough to ensure that the nutrients packed in them are kept intact until, during, and even after, you have cooked them. Storing them correctly, in a way that helps preserve the nutrients, is also very important. The same applies to when you’re cooking certain food items.
Time is the most important factor when it comes to the break down of nutrients in food. So, make sure that the fruits and veggies you buy are super fresh and locally grown as opposed to transported and packaged. Additionally, try to buy fruits and vegetables that are ripened on the vine as opposed to artificial ripening methods.
Additionally, keeping the following things in mind will ensure that all your healthy-eating efforts are not lost in the process.
Keep them in cool environments
If you are storing your weekly ration at the back of the car until you get home, be sure not to leave them there for too long. Additionally, note that some vegetables do better in the fridge, and some, like potatoes, onions, unpeeled garlic, and other root vegetables are better stored in dry, cool places. Others, barring tomatoes, which can be kept on the counter, can go in the fridge. Also, if possible, try to shop fresh produce every other day as opposed to buying and storing for a week or longer.
Let them breathe
Certain fruits, mushrooms, and vegetables often come in plastic bags or cellophane-covered plastic boxes. Either keep them in a paper bag or poke a few holes in the plastic to allow some air in.
Freezing is sometimes better
Sometimes, vegetables like Peas are better frozen than consuming days-old ones. Frozen vegetables are nutritious, too, if they are bought fresh, immediately blanched, and frozen right after. Nutrient loss occurs when the food is processed before freezing it.
When cooking, keep the following in mind to ensure minimum or zero nutrient loss:
-Aggressively peeling thick layers of a fruit or vegetable results in loss of vitamins. So, keep the skin unpeeled whenever possible, or if you must Peel it, keep it thin.
-Avoid reheating the same food multiple times.
-The water you use for boiling vegetables can be used as stock in other dishes.
-When applicable, opt for Steaming vegetables as opposed to boiling them.
-Avoid cooking certain foods like dal for a long time and in a lot of fluids.
-Avoid chopping veggies finely, when possible, as they are more susceptible to losing their moisture and natural color, and thereby, the nutrients.
-Sauteing and stir frying are good options as they use minimal liquid and cook the food fast which helps retain its nutrients.
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