Here’s to more health in your kitchen

These cooking tools help extract more nutrition per meal

heres-to-more-health-in-your-kitchenEverything that you have in the kitchen [not just the food] directly concerns your health. So having the right tools is important. Here are a few basic tools that every kitchen must have; they are light on the wallet, and good for your health.

Steamer

Steamers can be as simple as two-compartment pots: the bottom pot to hold water that boils and the top colander-like pot with a lid to hold food. Or, they can be more high tech such as those that are built into rice cookers.

You need steamers because steaming helps retain nutrition in food, which gets lost when the food comes in contact with large amounts of water [which happens the most in boiling].

Remember, steam foods only till their colour turns brighter. For example, dark green broccoli should become bright grass green and cauliflower should go from off white to vivid white. For the highest nutritional value of vegetables, steam them for just 2 – 3 minutes.

Oil spritzer/mister

Oil spritzers/misters help reduce the oil you consume as they are used to spray a small, controlled amount of oil evenly in the cookware. Spritzers can be empty ones into which you can fill the oil of your choice or ready-to-use ones with an oil already filled in. You get spritzers with olive oil, which is great for quick stir-fry items or sauteing vegetables, or margarine/butter, which is great for lining baking pans when making fresh, home-made multi-grain bread!

A spritzer is a great weight control tool as it helps limit your total calorie intake by regulating the fat [oil, margarine] you consume, which has nine calories per gram.

If you buy an empty spritzer, remember to change your oil every month so that you get an even distribution of the heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in your diet.

Measuring cups and spoons

Portion control is another important thing to do when you are watching your weight. And that’s why it’s important that you have measuring cups and spoons. They take the guessing out of portion sizes and help you understand your total calorie intake without the number-crunching.

For example, frac34; cup of dry cereal [wheat flakes, corn flakes] equals one serving of starch; one cup raw salad is one serving of vegetables. The general rule is two teaspoons of oil per person per day. So if there are five people in your home, it is best to keep aside 10 teaspoons of oil in the morning and use only that container for the entire day’s cooking [That is if you are not using an oil mister for cooking].

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Radhika Karle-Ghorpade
Radhika Karle-Ghorpade is a Mumbai-based dietician with a Masters degree from Texas Women's University - Houston. She is a certified Yoga and Pilates instructor, and a personal trainer. She loves to swim, play tennis, and travel in her free time. Her nutrition mantra: everything in moderation.

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