Most people focus on ingredients when it comes to eating healthy. They focus on the nutritional value, the composition of vitamins and ideal combinations of ingredients, and these aspects are always a concern for all. All these people are losing the sight of one very important aspect that these applies most often to fresh food. A healthy meal planning is more than eating fresh foods and cooked or baked foods are also involved.
Cooking can change the chemical composition, so healthy ingredients can transform into real toxic ones. Healthy cooking and healthy eating are thus two different topics of discussion.
The cooker – the ‘star‘ in the kitchen
Although many consider it redundant, the first aspect to note when it comes to correctly preparing the food is related to hygiene.
During the cooking, it is almost impossible the hands not to come into contact with food, so before anything, chef’s hygiene is the most important.
Hand washing is mandatory every time, thus being eliminated the risk of bacteria infestation.
It is important also that the dishes and cooking utensils are well clean before use.
The ideal temperature for a healthy cooking
Temperature is one of the most important elements of food processing. Cooking at a too low temperature exposes the consumers to bacteria and very dangerous infections such as E.Coli or Salmonella. These bacteria survive when food is cooked at a low temperature, being destroyed only when is used a proper temperature.
On the other hand, cooking at a too high temperature will destroy the vitamins, the minerals, and the proteins contained in the food, and slows digestion, forcing consumers bodies to an overall greater effort for absorption of the nutrients.
The thermal transfer and the effects of food
The next important aspect is that foods do not heat up on their own, but are heated in pots.
How these vessels are composed of different materials, they react differently to different temperatures and cause the transfer of substances during the preparations. The same impact is also applicable when it comes to the rest of the kitchen utensils (for mixing spoons, knives, forks, and so forth).
Different materials (e.g. Teflon) can release toxic substances during the preparation of the foods.
Check your pots and frying pans boxes in order to be sure of the materials they’re made of and check if they are safe to be used.
Healthy meal planning
A meal plan is a very effective way that can provide healthy food for your family. It is important to take well-thought decisions about the food you buy and serve to your family.
If you feel overwhelmed by this, here are some ways to ease your work.
Here are three reasons why meal planning is important:
- To make sure the family receives foods with a high nutritional intake and that taste good.
- To help to reduce the food costs. So you will not buy ingredients you do not need. In addition, choosing seasonal ingredients is a good idea because they are cheaper and healthier.
- It helps to reduce the time, effort, and stress of food preparation. If you know what you’ll prepare in advance, you’ll have the ingredients on hand.
Here are several ways you can plan your meals:
- Weekly method. Start by making a list of ingredients that are handy, and you use more often. Choose menus for every day of the week and make a shopping list of the ingredients needed for cooking. Next week go through the same planning system and so on.
- The method of planning for one month. Select 30 or 40 of your family’s favorite recipes that you will prepare in a rotation. You can also add a new recipe or to make the same recipe twice if your family is really excited about it. Do the basic ingredients list before you go shopping. Start the week with a visit to the store and buy non-perishable foods that will last for at least 1-2 weeks. Then, review the monthly meal planning week-by-week and buy what is needed for food preparation.
- The frozen food method. If you have a large enough storage space in the freezer, then you can cook in advance and store the food in the freezer. For example, at the end of the week, each week, cook the food for the next week and store it in the freezer.
In conclusion, healthy meal planning is good because you have more control over your family’s menus and you will not resort to less healthy recipes that are easier and faster to prepare.