3 Simple Ways To Make Your Meals Healthier
In the rush to make meal preparation more convenient, faster and easier, we seem to have "processed out" most of what was good for us in our daily meals. Following are three changes that are easy to make and that will have a huge impact on the nutritional value of the food you feed your family. You can still feed your family the same meals you always have, but by making some simple adjustments in how you prepare them they will be much better for them. Read on to find out what you can do to make the meals you feed your family more healthful. Use Fresh Ingredients The first thing you need to do if you want to feed your family the most nutritious food possible is ditch anything in a can or a box. Replacing canned veggies with fresh will have a tremendous impact on the nutritional value of your food. The can lists the nutritional value of what's inside, but unfortunately, that's what the food contained before the canning process. Canning is done under heat and pressure, and the sad fact is that many vitamins are destroyed by heat. So what you had when the vegetable was raw is not exactly what you have when that same vegetable is cooked and canned. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables and using them as soon as possible after purchasing them ensures you're getting maximum nutritional value. If you buy a bag of carrots and they sit in the fridge for 6 weeks before they're eaten, they're not nearly as good for you at six weeks as they would have been had you eaten them when they were fresh. Come up with creative ways to use veggies in a timely manner so they don't go stale. Use High Quality Protein Meat is the best source of protein there is. Vegetarians would argue that, but vegetable sources of protein don't include all the essential amino acids your body needs. It's true you can combine several different foods and get all the amino acids, but meat has them all in one place and in a form that's very bio-available. Choosing meat is a choice of good, better, best. You can get by with good, old 80/20 hamburger. Mothers have for years. That would be the "good" choice. Better would be lean burger or poultry. Best, of course, would be bison. Bison is lower in fat and cholesterol than either chicken or turkey and is loaded with iron. Simply substituting bison for beef will raise the nutritional quotient of your meal dramatically. Another source of complete protein is fish. Of course, if you're going to eat fish, you want wild caught fish and not farm raised. That means no tilapia, no farm raised salmon, etc. Shell fish are a good source of iodine if you can be sure where they were caught. Eating shell fish caught off the shore of some 3rd world countries would be suicidal. Shell fish caught off the west coast of the continental US and Alaska are generally clean and a good source of nutrition. Don't Overcook Your Food As was stated earlier, heat kills many vitamins, rendering them useless. Veggies that can be eaten raw should be eaten raw. If you're going to cook veggies, do so lightly. If you cook them just to where they are warm inside, but are still crunchy, you've maintained the majority of the nutrition in the food. You can do that by lightly sauteeing, steaming, etc. If you put asparagus in a pan of water and boil it until it's a pan of goo, there's very little nutrition left. If asparagus is lightly steamed (where it's still cruchy) you have a very nutritious cooked vegetable. The same is true with meat and fish. Most of the goodness in the meat will still be there if you cook it "medium" or less. If you cook your fish until it turns into fish jerky, much of the nutritional value will be gone. If you're concerned about your ability to get your meat cooked properly, get a thermometer that you can leave in place while cooking. Then you'll know exactly how you're doing. Conclusion Just a few small changes can improve the nutritional value of the food you eat by several hundred percent. Make sure what you eat is fresh, with the leanest sources of protein (that has been cooked properly) and that you're not cooking the life and the goodness out of your food. Just doing those three things will have a huge impact on the healthfulness of the food you feed your family. Let us know how those things work out for you. And if you have other ideas, share them in the comments so that everyone can benefit from them.