The healthiest ways to cook vegetables might come to you as a suprise. If you’re making an effort to eat your vegetables everyday or to include more vegetables in your diet then you want to reap all the benefits from the nutrients in those foods. But did you know that some cooking methods actually remove nutrients from your food? Keep reading to see the healthiest ways to cook vegetables and avoid loosing valuable nutrients each time you prepare your greens.
In last place, the least beneficial way to cook your vegetables is (unfortunately) to fry them! We all love a good fried potato, but the studies are in and frying has been proven to be the worst way to cook vegetables while preserving nutrients. The high heats needed for frying are nutrient killers, hurting vitamins such as Vitamin C, carotenoids and polyphenols. And we all know that a fried foods are full of bad fats and excess sodium so it’s just not a good choice in general if you’re looking out for your health.
The Pan we Recommend for Frying
Stainless Clad Frying Pan is made of stainless steel and has the deep sides needed for small frying jobs. We love how this pan heats fast and even with a handle that is designed to stay cool on the stovetop. This pan is the Winner of Best USA Cookware by Good Housekeeping.
Up next we consider boiling vegetables. Could this be the healthiest way to cook vegetables? Unfortunately while it’s easy — dump in boiling water and wait a few minutes — it’s also a poor way to retain nutrients in your vegetables. As the vegetables boil a lot of those valuable nutrients are pulled from the food and into the water — the same water you’ll be dumping down the sink at the end of the cooking time. The good news is that a little boiling isn’t a big deal if you’re working on making a soup in a hurry since you’ll be drinking that water broth base that now contains the nutrients from the vegetables. Boiling is still considered to be better at preserving nutrients than frying and some foods such as broccoli and carrots don’t have any nutrient problems from boiling.
The Pot we Recommend for Boiling
Stainless Clad Stock Pot is the only stock pot you’ll need in the kitchen. This pot is made from a single piece of premium 5-ply metal, giving it consistent thickness along the entire wall of the pot for even cooking (ie. no more burnt bottom chili!). This pot can do double duty and be put in the oven with a roast so it is an incredibly versatile pot for every home cook.
Nothing tastes quite as homey as roasted vegetables in the winter but it is not the healthiest way to cook vegetables. The high heat for a long time can still decrease vitamins. The good news is that not all vitamins are lost so if you really love the flavor of roasted vegetables then consider roasting some and mixing them with steamed or sautéed vegetables for even more nutrient impact.
The Pan we Recommend for Roasting
Blue Carbon Steel Roasting Pan is an all around winner whether you want perfectly browned vegetables or a turkey to envy at the holidays. We love the high walls and handles that make transporting and serving the vegetables so much easier — you’ll never want to roast veggies on a cookie sheet again.
Sautéing (using a frying pan and a small amount of oil) helps retain nutrients in cooking vegetables. While sautéing uses high heat it also cooks quickly (unlike roasting) which helps preserve nutrients. Adding a little bit of Olive Oil actually helps your body to digest some of the fat soluble nutrients in your vegetables so don’t be afraid to saute with a little oil for flavor and nutrition benefits!
The Pan we Recommend for Sautéing
Stainless Clad Frying Pan not only works great for frying but we love it for sauteeing as well. This pan can’t be beat for quality.
Steamed vegetables get a bad rap for being a little on the bland side but that’s nothing a little seasoning can’t fix because steaming is actually one of the best ways to preserve nutrients in vegetables. Whether you’re using a metal or bamboo steaming basket, steaming has been shown to retain cancer-fighting glucosinolates in broccoli, carotenoids in zucchini and to protect polyphenols (think: cancer fighting antioxidants) while cooking. Steaming is quick and the vegetables aren’t submerged in water to leach away the nutrients. Every kitchen should have a great steamer that can fit enough nutrient-rich veggies for the entire family.
The Pot we Recommend for Steaming
T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set comes with a steamer basket and so much more. The 3 qt steamer insert fits over a hardy stock pot and the entire set is the perfect replacement to your old pots and pans if you’re ready for something more professional in the kitchen.
Are you surprised that microwaves made the list for nutrient-saving cooking methods? Well, if you like those quick and easy vegetable steamer bags for the microwave you’re in luck, microwaving may help your veggies retain their nutrients in comparison to other cooking methods. So skip putting the veggies in a bowl of water for the microwave and instead just get a steamer bag ready for the microwave and enjoy nutrient rich vegetables for those busy nights.