The festive season has begun. But, apart from happiness, what enters our house during festivals?
Yes, the Oil Cans (not less than 5 lt.)
Our festivals are incomplete till we prepare goodies that are “deep fried”. I guess one forgets about his health amidst all these celebrations.
When interfered, the most common dialogue in every household is “Oh, C’mon, it’s just one time of the year”.
But is it? Are festivals all about indulging ourselves so much that we forget what our health means to us?
The subject may sound boring to you, but remember, festivals are once a year and our health is all the year round.
So what can you do so that the festivity remains as good as your health? Should you start cooking without oil or are there any healthy cooking methods?
Healthy cooking is not a farewell to fats
Fats are not harmful if consumed within normal limits which range from 15-20 grams for a kid and 20-25 gram for an adult per day. Fats are essential for our body just as any other nutrient.
- Fats help in binding many proteins, minerals and vitamins and aid in their absorption.
- They form the main channel of transportation for many nutrients.
- Fats are the building blocks for our adipose tissue that helps in maintaining the body temperature.
- Fats are stored as lipids to combat severely low levels of energy.
Today, people are still confused about fat and its consumption. Either we eat it without any barrier or just shun it from our diet completely. Hence, a proper introduction to fats is absolutely necessary for my article to proceed.
There are three types of fats present in nature:
- Saturated fats like ghee and butter that become solid at room temperature.
- Unsaturated fats like oil which remain liquid at room temperature.Unsaturated fats are then categorised into MUFA and PUFA. These oils are known to decrease the levels of bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol in the body.
- Trans fats which are partially hydrogenated oils.
Oils are used in routine for shallow frying, deep frying, sautéing, brushing, etc. Hidden fats are consumed in the form of nuts and seeds.
It’s high time we recognise the importance of fats in our diet and understand their consumption before making a major change in our routine.
I won’t ask you to stop consuming fats. My focus is to make you aware and understand the basics. I want to encourage you towards healthy cooking for your family this festive season.
#1 Use the right oil
I agree poori, kachori, etc. cannot be spared on festivals.
To encourage healthy cooking:
- Use healthy oils like olive oil, flax seed oil, avocado oil, rice bran oil, etc. for shallow and deep frying.
- Plan your meals in such a way that deep fried food is included during daytime and not before bedtime.
- Stay away from partially hydrogenated oils and Trans fats normally used in processed sweets.
- Use skimmed milk in place of full fat milk to prepare kheer at home.
- Nuts are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids so make sure you include them in your diet as they help in reducing bad cholesterol from the body.
#2 Chose the right utensil
Invest your money in buying the right cookware that actually reduces the consumption of oil by food. Go for heavy-bottom stainless steel pans, enamel coated cast iron pans or ceramic titanium pans for shallow frying. These pans are non- stick and will cook food fast.
Go for woks in the same material so that the oil is heated at the right temperature. Maintaining the temperature will make sure that food is in minimum contact with the oil and gets cooked too.
Take all the necessary washing precautions with these utensils. Eventually, you will develop the habit of healthy cooking since your utensil doesn’t need an oil bath.
If you bake, use silicon moulds in the oven to easily take out the stuff without the use of oil. Use parchment paper to avoid unnecessary greasing of tray with butter.
#3 Deep frying alternatives
In case of chips, papads, pakoras, fried veggies, fried meats, fried frozen foods etc, oil frying can be substituted with air frying. These days market is full of this new technology to replace the unhealthy amount of fats you consume with the blink of an eye.
The food cooked in an air fryer is crispier and healthier. Invest into one this festive season and note the change in your health. (Air fryer can be a very thoughtful gift for your loved ones this Diwali).
It is a trend to distribute baked namkeens and snacks to our relatives on festivals. So why haven’t we adopted this method of cooking in our kitchens?
Baked chikki, namak and shakkar paras, namkeens, baked samosas, baked gujiyas, etc. and many more recipes are available online to give it a try.
Use of unsweetened apple sauce and banana are recent trends to replace the use of oil during sweet baking. These products being naturally sweet reduce the consumption of sugar as well.
Roasting can be done in 2 ways: Dry roasting without oil and wet roasting with 1 tablespoon of oil. Roasted nuts are everyone’s favourite during festive season. Roasting boosts the taste of the food by naturally caramelising the food in its own oil and browning leads to crispiness.
Use of this method for non-vegetarian food items is adopted to give them a juicy feeling without the use of oil. Go for low and slow roast to enhance the flavour.
c) Stir Frying
This year, go for stir fried vegetables and note the change. Not only they have an appeal but are healthy, crispy, and tasty.
Use only 1 teaspoon of oil to gently fry all the vegetables without breaking. Constant stirring is the key to stir frying. Use the spices and condiments as per your taste and notice the aroma change. You can use this method for green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers etc.
It is a very old and traditional method of cooking which uses minimum or no oil. Steaming uses water to give the food texture and makes it airy. Adding spices to your steamed food enhances the taste.
You can prepare steamed foods like dhokla, idli, vegetable koftas, mathi, etc. and consume as a snack or the main dish.
Healthy cooking is the flavour of the season
Festivals come every year and bring the freshness along. When you can buy a new house, new car or new clothes this season, then why can’t you try new methods of healthy cooking that can benefit you and your family in the long run?
The above methods of healthy cooking may sound difficult but practice makes the man perfect. Start practicing today and try some new dishes. Once you are perfect, show it off to your guests this festival.
So, what’s your method of healthy cooking for your family? Let us know in the comments below!
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