Monday, August 7, 2017

Cooking for better nutrition

If you like to cook, you like to cook your way.  I understand.  Since you're here, you also know that cooking your own food is the key to a flat belly - and (no doubt) you've been trying to eat the best you possibly can.

Here are ten ideas for changing what you might be doing in order to be cooking for better nutrition.

Some might call these 'ten cooking mistakes', but I would call them 'ten cooking suggestions'.   Cooking for better nutrition can be hard or time-consuming if you don’t know the proper techniques.  It doesn't have to be.  A few easy-to-do changes really add up over time.

If you goal is fat-loss, then consider these ten simple concepts when preparing meals:

1)  Cook with whole-grain (and generally choose whole grain)

It can be hard to change, but it’s still best to buy whole-grain as opposed to white pasta, rice, bread, etc… Why?  Simply because whole-grain has more fiber than white.  Fiber is essential to weight loss.  Check labels for added ingredients such as sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

2)  Don't overcook your vegetables

Overcooking spinach won’t be that dramatic.  Just realize that the more you cook vegetables, the more they lose their vitamins - and then essential fiber breaks down.  Some vegetables, like carrots or sweet potato, actually become problematic if you’re trying to lose fat.  Their glycemic index increases as they cook.

3)  Don't juice away the fiber

Sure, juicing is good.  But the reason you need to eat vegetables is to eat more fiber, which is linked to effective weight loss.  Most blenders break down fiber and you end up with only part of what you need the most.  As an alternative, try a high-density super-food shake.

4)  Try a better kind of rice

Short grain (Arborio, sushi, risotto) isn't the best.  Extra-long grain is great (Basmati, Jasmine).  If you can find a whole-grain basmati or Jasmine rice, it's even better - you’re all set.

5)  Don't overcook pasta

The more you cook pasta, the more its glycemic index increases - which leads to gaining fat.  Try to cook pasta 'al dente'.

6)  Make wise substitutions 

Replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners or eating gluten-free pasta may be making things worse for you.  Gluten-free pasta, for instance, is made with high-glycemic flours that are best to avoid if you are not gluten-intolerant and are trying to lose weight.

7)  Steam vegetables, rather than boiling

Vegetables leech color, vitamins and lose some of their texture when they boil instead of steam. If you have the choice, always steam in order to guarantee optimum nutrition.

8)  Don't throw away the good parts 

Stalk and leaves of broccoli, chards, kale and other green vegetables are some of the most nutritious parts - so is cucumber or potato skin.  It’s a common 'mistake', but just think about all the nutritious fiber you’re throwing away.

9)  You peel your vegetables

Most vitamins are located just under the skin of vegetables.  And, of course, the skin if full of fat-burning fiber.  Suggestion:  don’t peel cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, turnips or fruits like apple or pears - or at least don't peel them as much.

10)  Use the best oils

I always use coconut oil, avocado oil, or extra-virgin olive oil.  While oils have little impact on your weight loss efforts, some can be really unhealthy.  Avoid canola, vegetable, or sunflower oils when you can .  They're just not the best.

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