The following are some tips helpful in preserving the nutritive value of food during preparation and cooking.
- You may need to cover some of the food while cooking to prevent nutrient loss and to retain taste and flavor, but in certain cases, cooking utensils should be kept open.
- Avoid prolonged stirring and sieving because when air is incorporated into food it destroys Vitamin C.
- Most food (rice, lentils, polos, etc.) should be cooked till it is done, because only then will it give its proper flavor and digest well.
- To preserve nutrients, certain food like vegetables should not be overcooked.
- Vegetables should retain its colour after cooking.
- Pressure cooking helps retain nutrients.
- Cooked food should not be re-heated more than once.
- Washing rice a number of times and draining excess water in the rice pot after cooking will lead to loss of water soluble vitamins (Vitamin B complex).
- The nutrient loss is higher when washing raw rice (red rice) compared to washing parboiled rice. The reason behind is that the parboiling process helps preserve water soluble nutrients inside the grain, therefore parboiled rice is more nutritious than raw rice.
Vegetables and Fruits
- Cut just before you cook, as vitamins are lost upon contact with air.
- Cut fruits and vegetables into big pieces in order to reduce the surface area coming into contact with air and water.
- Avoid buying pre-cut vegetables.
- Salads should be prepared just before serving.
- Wash vegetables before cutting so that soluble nutrients do not get drained.
- Vegetables should be taken without peeling off skin. Or else, a very thin peel should be removed because many nutrients are found under the skin.
- Vegetables which are not consumed raw may be ideally cooked just before you eat.
- Use an abundance of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Vegetables should be cooked for a minimal time in boiling water so that their colour, taste and nutrients are preserved.
- Use fresh coconut oil that doesn’t have any off/ rancid smell for cooking purposes.
- Do not re-heat the same oil that was once used.