Vegetables are considered important components of the Paleo diet. However, preparing and serving them in the same way for breakfast, lunch and dinner can grow boring over time.
There is also the concern of how one can best retain flavor and nutrients. When vegetables are not prepared and cooked properly, the vitamins, enzymes and nutrients can all go to waste and you stand to lose its valuable benefits.
Common Issues of Cooking Vegetables
- The Problem with Boiling Vegetables
According to the 2007 British study, boiling vegetables has been found to be particularly harmful in the preparation and cooking of fresh vegetables, especially for cruciferous vegetables such as cabbages, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
In the study, it was found that approximately 90 percent of the antioxidant content was lost after the vegetables were subjected to a boiling process. The flavonoids and glucosinolates were also found to be significantly diminished. Both are essential compounds that were found to have critical roles in reducing the risks of cancer.
- Microwaving Vegetables Can ‘Zap’ Nutrients
Another common and convenient form of preparing vegetables is using the microwave. This cooking method is also not recommended as it can effectively get rid of its healthy components, especially if it has been placed into water prior to microwaving. In a Portuguese study, it was found that nutrients of broccoli were diminished by as much as 74 to 97 percent.
Tips on Vegetable Preparation
- Only cook vegetables at the shortest possible time to serve them crispy and tender.
- The best and recommended methods of vegetable preparation are by steaming and stir frying.
- Be sure to cover the vegetables when cooking in a pot in order to prevent the nutrients from escaping.
- It is generally best to cook your vegetables whole and unpeeled since the most number of nutrients and vitamins are found just beneath the surface levels.
- Make use of the nutrient-packed liquid produced when preparing soups, sauces and stews.
- Cook your vegetables close your scheduled serving time.
- Reduce settings to low heat when cooking vegetables in order to best retain their nutritional value.
Vegetable Cooking and Serving Ideas
There are a number of ways to prepare vegetables the healthier way. Here are some ideas and suggestions:
This is one of the easiest ways to prepare vegetables, especially if you are roasting meat. The recommended technique to line your veggies on a baking sheet and drizzling it lightly with olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper. Bake the vegetables in 375 to 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Vegetables that are best served roasted include cauliflower, asparagus, squashes and onions.
Every now and then, organizing a weekend family barbeque is a wonderful opportunity to catch up and bond. Just like roasting, lightly toss your vegetable in olive. Oil. This will help the vegetables brown attractively and prevent them from sticking too much. Great vegetables for grilling include onions, peppers, eggplants, onions and zucchini.
- Stir Fry
This is one of the healthiest methods of preparing vegetables. You simply need a hot pan and some oil. Before you place your vegetables into the pan, make sure it’s already hot. Simply lightly toss the vegetables to avoid bruising them. Vegetables that are particularly great served stir-fried include broccoli, cabbage and carrots.
Sauteed vegetables call for heating them in pan without allowing them to wilt, just soft enough for easy digestion. This cooking method is very similar to stir fry, although it doesn’t require as much cooking action. Among the well-loved sautéed vegetables include tomatoes, peppers, zucchinis and onions.
The best way to preserve the flavors and beautiful colors of your vegetables is through steaming them. Use a steaming tray for best results. Highly recommended vegetables for steaming include carrots, broccoli, parsnips and cauliflower.
You don’t really need to cook your vegetables as you can easily consume them raw. This is the best and most natural way to preserve their flavors. Along the great vegetables that are best eaten raw include carrots, peppers, tomatoes and celery.
Don’t be afraid of experimenting and trying out different vegetable recipes. You may also want to learn a new recipe once a week to slowly build up your cooking repertoire.