Consuming a healthy diet is the first step in fostering good health. Healthy diets include eating more fruits and vegetables, replacing refined foods with whole grain foods, reducing salt and sugar intake, and limiting alcohol and fat consumption.
But eating healthy is not limited to adding fruits and vegetables to your diet. It also has a lot to do with the method of cooking. The cooking method affects the nutritional value and fat content of the dish.
One of the best ways to reduce fat consumption is to adopt a healthier cooking technique. If you are watching your weight or are suffering from a chronic condition like diabetes or hypertension, then stay clear of deep-fried dishes. You must switch from frying to baking instead.
Baking is a much-preferred cooking technique recommended by health experts to make the dishes healthy for you and your family. Besides bread and desserts, baking can also be used to cook seafood, poultry, lean meat, and vegetables. Let us now understand why baking is the most preferred cooking option.
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Why is Baking Healthier than Frying?
Cooks choose different cooking methods like baking, grilling, deep frying, stir-frying, etc., depending on the type of food they want to make and cooking time involved. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, baking is the healthiest cooking method out of all techniques. Let us understand why baking is a healthier option.
- High Calories: Frying involves cooking food in oil or fat which is high in calories. Whether it is deep-frying, shallow-frying, or stir-frying, all involve the use of added fat that browns the food. All involve submerging food in hot oil for cooking. Absorption of oil while frying adds to the calories count of food making it unhealthy.
- Heart disease and cancer: Deep-fried foods, such as French fries and samosa, offer little or no nutritional value and put you at high risk of health conditions like heart disease and cancer. This is because of deep-frying and pan-frying lead to high absorption of added fat and the formation of acrylamide, a carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). The high temperature in frying causes the starch in the food to convert to carcinogens. This makes frying very unhealthy.
- Damage to heart, kidneys, and lungs: Deep frying at high temperatures with starchy foods can lead to oxidation of oils. Oxidized oils can be damaging to your heart, lungs, and kidneys. It can also lead to high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.
- Obesity, stroke, and diabetes: Many deep-fried foods found in restaurants and packaged foods are cooked in partially-hydrogenated oils like lard to increase their shelf life and enhance the taste. Intake of these oils can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system and promote obesity, stroke, and diabetes.
- Cuts Down on Calorie Consumption: Baking foods cut down on your intake of fats and calories which help you to maintain a healthy weight and diet. Baking is a dry-heat cooking method in which food is ‘roasted’ at high temperatures in the oven. Baking is often referred to as ‘roasting’ because moisture within the food is converted to steam that combines with the dry heat of the oven to cook the food. It requires little or no added fat. Moreover, any fat will drain out during baking if you use a roasting rack.
- No Adverse Reactions: As baking requires no added oil, it does not cause any reactions in foods or any oxidation, making it a healthier option. All meats, fish, and vegetables can be cooked by baking. In addition, dough products, such as bread loaves, are better suited to baking.
- Reduces Health Problems: Since baking requires little or no added oil, there is a reduced risk of heart disease and other unhealthy conditions.
- Retains Nutrients: Baking helps retain the nutrients in foods without adding any extra salt or fat.
- Captures the Flavour: Baking helps capture and infuse the original, unique flavors of all ingredients present in the dish. This makes the final baked good flavourful and enticing.
- Supports Special Diets and Promotes Healthy Lifestyle: Baking supports people who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle or are on special diets or weight loss programs.
While weighing the benefits and negative aspects of frying and baking techniques, it is important to note that frying adds a considerable amount of fat to foods while ‘little to no fat’ is necessary for baking. When you have to decide between frying and baking your foods, choose to bake your food items instead.
Health-conscious people and those undergoing special diets benefit from the lower fat content in baked foods, while still enjoying the tenderness and flavor of this healthy cooking method. For example, a typically fried samosa has over 240 calories, whereas one fully baked samosa has under 85 calories i.e. around 1/3 of the fried version. Therefore, switching to a healthier food alternative isn’t too difficult!
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Quick Tips to Make Baked Goods Healthy & Tasty
- You can use marinades, fresh hot peppers, citrus juices, and fresh or dried herbs to add spice to your meal rather than relying on fat to produce flavor. For example, you can simply top baked fish with lemon juice and black pepper, or marinade it in a mixture of olive oil and spices before baking to create a flavourful dish.
- You can satisfy your cravings even with smaller portions by using high-quality ingredients for a more flavorful product. For example, use vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract. Opt for high-quality chocolate and make sure your spices are fresh for achieving the boldest flavor in your dish.
Try my popular Baked Recipes
The cooking method is a very important factor when you’re trying to achieve or maintain a healthy diet. Frying foods can be harmful to your health due to the intake of unnecessary fats. Baking helps to control the level of fat in your food. This helps you to maintain a healthy diet and optimum body weight.
Healthy cooking doesn’t mean that you need to be highly-skilled like a gourmet chef or invest in expensive cookware. Just use basic cooking techniques to prepare your food in various healthy ways. For more ideas and tips on how to eat and cook healthier with baking, visit my blog and Join My Exclusive Workshops.