Avoid these 8 cooking mistakes that can make dishes unhealthy

The skin of apples is nutritious, so keep it on when you eat the fruit.
The skin of apples is nutritious, so keep it on when you eat the fruit. PHOTO: ST FILE

(SHAPE SINGAPORE) - Cutting down on the use of seasoning and keeping the skin on for some vegetables can help make your dishes healthier.  

1. Cooking vegetables for too long

Cooking vegetables until they turn soggy and limp removes most of its nutrients. To get optimum nutrition from your vegetables, avoid boiling them for long periods as this process leaches the nutrients out of them.

Instead, stir-frying them lightly is a better way to preserve their nutrients. Alternatively, blanch them in hot water if you intend to eat them in a soup. Just make sure that your vegetables are still firm and lightly crisp when eaten.

2. Using too much seasoning

In Singapore, we love to flavour our food. However, we should also be wary of how much seasoning we are using while whipping up our meals. Using salt, chicken stock and soya sauce in one dish could make it a sodium-bomb.

This is bad news for you because when you consume too much sodium, your body holds extra water that leads to water retention.

To avoid puffy skin, limit the amount of salt in your food. Also, use unprocessed and healthy seasonings such as cinnamon, black pepper or turmeric.

3. Using oils with a low smoke point

Not all cooking oils are made equal. Olive oil has a relatively low smoke point, which means that once it has passed a certain temperature, it begins burning up and this might release harmful free radicals. So deep-frying your items in olive oil could make your dish a toxic nightmare.

Instead, use oils with a high smoke point such as peanut oil, almond oil or sunflower oil.

4. Peeling the skin off vegetables

Peeling the skin off all your vegetables could mean you are discarding some important nutrients.

The skin of potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, cucumbers and apples contain a lot of vitamins that provide you with extra minerals and vitamins.

Vegetable and fruit peels also have a lot of fibre, which is great for your digestive system. Just ensure that you wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before consuming them.

5. Not washing vegetables thoroughly

We cannot be sure of how much pesticide is lurking on the surface of our fruit and vegetables because they are invisible to the naked eye.

Before eating fruit or vegetables, make it a rule to wash them thoroughly in a tub of water. An experiment reported in American Chemical Society revealed that using a pinch of baking soda in the tub of water used to wash vegetables is the best way to get rid of almost all traces of pesticide.

6. Exposing honey to heat

Using honey is a fantastic way of sweetening your dishes and beverages. But be sure to avoid introducing Mother Nature’s natural sweetener to high temperatures because heat could destroy the enzymes in it. This decreases the medicinal properties of honey.

Instead, preserve its natural goodness and wait for your cup of coffee to warm down before stirring a spoonful of honey into it.

7. Using butter to add flavour

Although butter may make your dish taste better, it is not worth expanding your waistline for because of its many extra calories. It is also packed with trans and saturated fat that could impede the productivity of your circulatory system. To keep your jeans fitted, and your heart healthy, stay away from butter for good.

8. Overestimating how much oil you need

It is crucial you control the portion of the oil used in cooking.

A tablespoon of oil has about 100 to 150 calories, so a single or couple of tablespoons is more than enough for a regular stir-fry.

To save yourself from using too much oil, lubricate the pan with an ample amount of oil instead of trying to coat every ingredient in the pan with it. Additionally, measure your cooking oil by the tablespoon to avoid ingesting a whole load of extra calories.