You probably prefer your vegetables raw or lightly cooked so you can still taste the rich flavor in different plant foods. If you choose to boil your vegetables, it's important not to overboil them. Here's 4 reasons why:
1. Lackluster Color
Studies show that people who are trying to lose weight will eat less when their brain says that the food is delicious. A plate full of green broccoli that was lightly steamed looks better than a pile of grayish broccoli, and maintains a bite that registers with your brain that you've eaten something, helping you to focus on eating less.
2. Loses Nutrients
Boiling vegetables causes nutrients to leach out into the water that, unless you're drinking the boiled carrot water, gets dumped. Water soluble vitamins like C, B6 and folate are the first to go. The levels of flavonoid antioxidants are lower in vegetables that are boiled. Those are the cancer fighting, free-radical grabbing compounds that we need, especially in our processed-food world.
3. Flavor and Texture Are Compromised
Channel your inner chef and eat for taste. You will never see a celebrity chef on a cooking show boil a pot of water, dump in a vegetable and walk away. This is becuase the result is neither tasty nor attractive. Try a different, just as easy cooking method, like steaming or roasting to preserve flavor, color and nutrient density.
4. You Lose Your Appetite
Chances are, if you don't like vegetables, you just don't like their preparation. If you prepare the veggies in a way that is delicious to eat, you'll be more likely to want to eat more.
Your chosen cooking method can save you time and keep the taste, sometimes even replacing unhealthy foods with vegetables that are really tasty. Try one of these cooking methods, and you earn a powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamins while sometimes even saving you the trouble of washing another pan. Bonus! Most veggies start losing their nutrients when they reach 100 degrees. The longer you cook and the more water you use reduces nutrient levels.
- Blanching - This is the best way to cook veggies. Blanching barely cooks veggies, but does improve color. Boil water and drop veggies in for only 1 minute. Vegetables will still have a lot of bite to them though, and will not seem tender.
- Steam - Using a steamer or a metal colander inserted into a pot, boil a tiny bit of water and cover to steam. Keep the cooking time quick, though! Alternatively, you can steam in the microwave to help keep cooking time low. Just remember to keep the water level low as well so the nutrients don't have a place to go.
- Stir-fry - Slice and stir fry your veggies in a pan with a little heart-healthy olive oil or some cooking spray to maintain most of the nutrients. Throw them in the pan after your meat rests and avoid extra clean-up.
- Roast - This is one of the most delicious preparations for a variety of vegetables. Chop carrots, small potatoes, eggplant, or broccoli, or even a delicous combo of your favorites. Add a little minced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast on a cookie sheet in a preheated oven for 20 minutes at about 500 degrees or under the broiler for 10 minutes. Cooking time depends on the size of the chop, so taste part way through cooking and remove when the veggies are golden brown in some spots.
- Grill - Super-convenient when cooking meats, grilling imparts an excellent flavor to bell peppers and zucchini, sweetens onions, and turns corn and eggplant into family favorites.
Try one of these delicious preparations and you're well on your way to getting your 5 servings a day!