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Moist-heat cooking methods, boiling and steaming, are the healthiest
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Diets & Healthy Cooking

Moist-heat cooking methods, boiling and steaming, are the healthiest

Steaming. This is a healthy and simple option. Stir-frying and sautéing. Quick, easy and healthy, these methods mean that food is only cooked for a short time in a small amount of oil, which helps maintains the texture and nutrients of the food To retain these vitamins, cook vegetables in as little water as possible for a minimal amount of time (unless you're planning to consume the water, as in a soup). Steaming and microwaving, both of which use little water, will give you the same results as boiling or blanching but with much less nutrient loss.


  • In many cases, favourite recipes can be modified so they have a lower fat content.
  • Choose to steam, bake, grill, braise, boil or microwave your foods, rather than deep fry them.
  • Use non-stick cookware.
  • Microwave or steam your vegetables instead of boiling them to retain the nutrients.

About healthy eating

Eating healthy food doesn’t mean giving up your favourite foods.

Your favourite recipes can be adapted easily to provide a healthier alternative. For example, non-stick cookware can be used to reduce the need for cooking oil. Vegetables can also be microwaved or steamed instead of boiling to retain valuable nutrition.

There are many ways to make meals healthier.

Limit fats, sugars and salt and include plenty of vegetables, fruit, grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy in your cooking.

Foods with added fats, sugars or salt are less healthy than food in which these are found naturally.

Keep fats to a minimum

  • Choose lean meats and reduced-fat dairy products and limit processed foods to minimise hidden fats
  • Nuts, seeds, fish, soy, olives and avocado are all healthier options because they include the essential long-chain fatty acids and these fats are accompanied by other good nutrients.
  • If you add fats when cooking, keep them to a minimum and use monounsaturated oils such as olive and canola oil.

Low fat cooking

  • If you need to use oil, try cooking sprays or apply a small amount of oil with a pastry brush.
  • Cook in liquids (such as stock, wine, lemon juice, fruit juice, vinegar or water) instead of oil.
  • Use low-fat yoghurt, low-fat milk, evaporated skim milk or cornstarch instead of cream in sauces or soups.
  • When browning vegetables, put them in a hot pan then spray with oil, rather than adding the oil first to the pan. This reduces the amount of oil that vegetables absorb during cooking.
  • An alternative to browning vegetables by pan-frying is to cook them first in the microwave, then crisp them under the grill for a minute or 2.
  • Use pesto, salsas, chutneys and vinegars in place of sour creams, butter and creamy sauces.

Retaining the nutrients

  • Water-soluble vitamins are delicate and easily destroyed during preparation and cooking. To minimise nutrient losses:
  • Scrub vegetables rather than peel them, as many nutrients are found close to the skin.
  • Microwave or steam vegetables instead of boiling them.
  • If you like to boil vegetables, use a small amount of water and do not overboil them.
  • Include more stir-fry recipes in your diet. Stir-fried vegetables are cooked quickly to retain their crunch (and associated nutrients).