With the advent of healthier lifestyles, most of us are now are not only concerned but also really conscious about the food that we pick and cook for ourselves and our family. Earlier some foods were only available during specific seasons, but now food travelling around the world, we have access to all food groups all through the year. It’s not easy to retain food nutrition these days.
Our food goes through a string of methods before it reaches us. Some of it is processed, some of it may not be fresh as it makes its way from one place to another. So, how can you ensure that you keep your food not only fresh but also retain the most nutrition from it?
As mentioned above – your food goes through a series of chemical and mechanical changes right from the moment you start prepping for your meal. You cut, cook, bite, chew and then digest.
The changes that happen are –
- The nutrition content of the food
- The percentage of nutrition of a particular food that can be absorbed by the body
Simple hacks to retain food nutrition–
- Eat locally sourced food items – you already may have heard about this. When you eat locally grown food – you stand a chance of getting the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals from the produce.
- Decrease cooking time for water-soluble and heat-sensitive nutrients. Prefer to either steam, blanch, sauté, roast or microwave the following –
- For e.g. – broccoli, cauliflower (sources of vitamin B5),
- spinach, turnip greens, broccoli (sources of folate), and
- bell peppers, broccoli (sources of vitamin C)
- Pair food groups right to maximize nutrient absorption
- Pair vitamin C with iron
- Also, pair sulphur with iron and zinc
- Proteins with green vegetables
- High starch food items with green vegetables and healthy fats
- Eat fruit alone, 30 minutes before your main meal
- Avoid drinking water during or after your meals, if required intake 1-2 sips of water
- Frozen food is also good compared to junk food – this means that in case if you are short on time – you can choose to get frozen vegetables.
- Cooking methods also make a difference. Read this method to make easy Shrikhand recipe.
- Choose a fresher and more colourful variety of food groups.
- Choose to add fresh garlic, tomatoes, and ginger in your diet on a daily basis. These have antimicrobial powers. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory.
- Moisture can ruin the nutrition of food items. Wipe your fruits and vegetables. Avoid storing in plastic bags.
- Oxygen, light and heat degrade the food of their nutrient content and hence keep these points in mind when storing.
- All vegetables to be stored in the fridge – except root category. (Carrot, beetroot, tapioca, turnip, ginger, garlic, onions etc.)
- All fruits to be kept at room temperature away from direct sunlight. (except tomatoes and avocados).
- Chop herbs and keep them in an airtight container or put them in freezer trays with some water. Airtight containers of good quality are always helpful and recently I tried the Tupperware sweet sixteen set of boxes. These boxes come in different sizes and are very helpful in storing not only fresh food but the leftovers too.
- You can store cut vegetables and fruits. To retain the freshness, you have to squeeze some lemon juice, and then store in an airtight container like Tupperware.
- Many of us worry about leftover food items as most of us cook extra and want to store it in a proper way. Now worry no more as these boxes from Tupperware are the best to store food items. For example, while storing in the refrigerator, make sure to store within two hours of cooking. That way you can retain the maximum nutrition.
- These Tupperware boxes can be used as a snack box for school and office for those small tidbits which your kids can carry easily. I use them to pack fruits or snack items like chips, biscuits etc.
- These are easy to stack and organise in your fridge. Also, you can use it for storing anything including liquids as its spill proof.
Proper storage of food items can help to retain food nutrition the right way. Make sure you use the right methods and the right containers for that.