We are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to Vegetables, and once we choose which Vegetables to include in our healthy meal, we then have to choose which cooking method to use, as Vegetables are so versatile, they can make your meal amazing, adding colour, taste and health to your weight loss diet.
Vegetables that promote a healthy lifestyle
Vegetables are packed with nutrients including vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Adding vegetables to your diet goes a long way to improve your overall health. These are only some of the best vegetables to eat daily that will help you lead a healthier lifestyle and achieve your weight loss goals.
Some of the best vegetables to incorporate into your everyday diet are leafy greens. This vegetable is full of antioxidants, which reduce the risk of chronic diseases. It also contains vitamins A and K, and one cup of raw spinach contains only 7 calories.
Carrots contain enough vitamin A and help with the eye sight. They also contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that can prevent cancer.
As a part of the cruciferous vegetable family, this vegetable contains sulforaphane, which can reduce the risk of cancer. It contains vitamins K and C, as well as folate, manganese, and potassium.
4. Brussel Sprouts
These are also part of the cruciferous vegetable family and contain the same vitamins and minerals as broccoli. Brussel sprouts also have kaempferol, a compound that reduces the risk of damaging our good cells.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Like carrots, sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A, to fight against cancer and improve eye sight. Sweet potatoes are good for diabetics since they are low on the glycemic index scale and high in fiber.
Mushrooms contribute to helping with cognition, cardiovascular health, and disease prevention. They are a great meat alternative because they contain protein and fiber. Mushrooms also have vitamins B and D.
Another one of the best vegetables to eat daily is asparagus. Asparagus stalks contain few calories but lots of fiber. They also have folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. Asparagus can even protect the liver from toxins.
Beets can improve heart health and also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They also have positive effects on blood pressure and oxidative stress.
9. Bell Peppers
Surprisingly, bell peppers have more vitamin C than oranges and also contain vitamin B-6, folta, beta-carotene and antioxidants that help protect your eyesight.
Onions contain sulfur compounds which have been linked to preventing cancer. They also contain vitamin C, B-6, manganese and certain compounds known to reduce stomach and prostate cancers.
Tomatoes are actually a fruit, although they are commonly treated as vegetables and used in many veggie dishes. They also contain a large amount of potassium, vitamin C and compounds that aid in healthy eyesight. Lycopene and beta-carotene in tomatoes are linked to reducing the risk of cancer.
Cooking methods that favor weight loss
The method of preparation you use in cooking can affect the total calories in the meal and also its nutritional value. If you are trying to reduce fat in your foods in order to lose weight, then one way is to consider your cooking methods. The description below shows the respective amount calories contained in vegetables and chicken when steamed baked and fried:
Item Steamed Baked Fried
Vegetables 1 bowl = 207 cal 1 bowl = 323.8 cal 1 bowl = 378.8 cal
Chicken 1 piece = 37.1 cal 1 piece = 59.9 cal 1 piece = 145.2 cal
Cooking at home gives you the control over the way the food is prepared and minimizing the fat content. Changing your method of food preparation does not necessarily mean you have to give up flavor and taste; but you might need to alter some of the old recipes to give a better and healthier twist. To achieve this, you might have to reduce your usage of oils and try preparing your foods with methods that reduce your fat intake. There are many ways to cook food that bring out the flavor without serving up the fat. Try one or all of these techniques to cut back on the fats in your meals.
Steaming conserves all the nutrients in the food and no oil is required in steaming. Steaming can be one of the easiest and healthy all-purpose method of cooking vegetables, meat and poultry. The following are benefits you get from steaming food:
- Nutrients are conserved: Steaming vegetables is a healthy way of getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. It is one of the healthiest methods of cooking as it does not lead to any loss of nutrients. It leaves the food with a higher vitamin and mineral content and also increases the antioxidant content of vegetables, making them more readily available to your body. Even when you are steaming chicken, all the protein in the meat is conserved.
- No need of oil: As no oil is required in steaming, it is definitely a healthier option than frying or grilling foods. The absence of oil automatically lowers the content of fat in the food. Steaming cooks your food thoroughly without addition of extra fat or butter to your food, allowing the true taste of the food to surface.
- No burning and overcooking: Cooking through steaming ensures that your food is not overcooked or burned, unlike frying, boiling or even baking foods. The vegetables also take lesser time to cook when you are steaming them.
- Low calories: Steaming allows you to consume less unhealthy fats and calories, thus potentially reducing your risk of obesity and heart disease. On the other hand, when food is fried, the oil gets soaked up during the cooking process adding to the calories and fat.
This cooking method breaks down the muscle fibers of meat making a more tender and moist meal. In addition, it adds extra flavor. There is also a reduction in fat, as there is no need for oils. This technique makes meat tender and juicy; and works well if you plan on grilling or baking your meat.
If you plan on reducing fat, then skip frying fish and opt for broiling. Fish is filled with fats, but these fats (Omega-3 as an example) are the good fats that we need. Our body cannot produce these fats so we must get them from the foods we consume. Frying fish adds unhealthy fats to the already existing fat, and this is not healthy.
This technique is ideal for cooking meats and vegetables quickly. It involves the use of a fat cooking oil like canola oil or olive oil. Remember, oils are all fat and can really add up the calories to your meals. For good results, lightly coat the bottom of the pan, heat it up and add your veggies or meats for healthier alternative to frying with lots of oils.
Stir frying is a good way to make a tasty meal using very little oil. A tablespoon of oil is heated in the wok and then swirled around so that it coats the bottom and the sides. After heating up the oil, the meat can then be added. To eliminate even more fats, simply pat with a paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil. After cooking the meat, vegetables can be added and cooked until tender. With stir frying, you can add so many different meats, veggies and other seasonings and ingredients.
Grilling does not require much oil so generally this is a healthy option for cooking, and there are so many different recipes that can be cooked on the grill that you will never get bored of having the same tastes over and over. That charred taste of grilled vegetables will keep you coming back for more. Grilling is a good cooking option for weight loss programs.