7 Best Ways To Prepare Food
The biggest reason decider for these as the best ways to prepare or cook your food is the measure of added fat, length of time to complete and we researched any long term negative health effects. All the options on this list have been proven over centuries as great ways to cook healthy and great tasting food.
This is a dry heat method that allows for cooking without direct exposure to a flame. Most people will use an oven for this and it is great due to the lack of added fat necessary to make it work and also delicious. Other than the usuals like breads and desserts, other great options include seafood, poultry, lean meat, vegetables and even fruits.
Equipment – an oven safe cooking dish an oven or other dry heat methods.
This is a slightly more advanced cooking skill and it taking the food, usually just the main protein source of the meal and browning it in a stovetop first. After that, still in the pan it will be placed in an oven or other non direct heat source and slowly cooked while partially covered with a liquid, often water or broth. Sometimes, as a topping cooking liquid is used afterward to as a sauce.
Equipment – tilting skillets and braising pans are the most common ways to do this.
Broiling and grilling
The last two options were using indirect heat, meaning the heat source will warm an area (oven) and then the food will sit in that closed area until cooked. With these two options (braising and grilling) the food is exposed to direct heat. One huge plus is that these methods allow fat to drip away from the food.
When grilling, you would put the food on a grill, skewers or rotating spit over a bed of charcoal or gas-heated rocks. You can ABSOLUTELY use both these methods to also cook vegetables and even fruit. When cooking smaller items, chopped vegetables for example, we recommend you use foil or a long-handled grill basket. This keeps you from losing food into the grill and makes it easier to season them.
For broiling, the easiest and most common way to do this is placing food on a broiler rack below a heat element. This is something most people who own their own oven don’t even know is an option. It’s a great way to cook seafood, other protein sources and even breads.
Equipment – an oven and grill. It would also be important to have tongs or a spatula long enough to get the food off safely. Other add on pieces would include a long handled basket for cooking veggies on there, tin foil and many more things can be added over time.
Most of us have heard of poached eggs, made very popular by the Eggs Benedict dish, but it can be done with lots of foods. To poach foods, you use a to hold water, wine or broth/stock and simmer ingredients until cooked. These foods are often very tender, retains their shape during cooking and take on the flavor of what they are poached in. When poaching on the stove, we recommend a covered pan that allows for the type of food you want to use. This allows for the minimal amount of liquid to be used which makes it work faster and saves money long term.
Equipment – pots, pans, stove, tongs and easy ways to remove it from heat
Very similar to baking in that it is a dry heat, roasting is usually done at higher temperatures.
Roasting can be done in multiple ways, to include using a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. When cooking poultry, seafood or any meat, we recommend getting a roasting pan with a rack so you can have space to allow the fat in the food to drip off while it cooks. One big piece here is to make sure you have a good meat or internal thermometer, if roasted too long at this higher heat it is easy to overcook and dry them out. So, bring them to a safe internal temperature and then remove from heat. The most common thing this makes people think of are the roasted beans of coffee….. mmmm…. Coffee…
Equipment – Baking sheets, roasting pan, internal / meat thermometer
The normal way to do this is to add butter or oil. This may be a good way to add some performance fats if done properly, using olive, avocado or canola oil this is a great way to add some to veggies and other foods. This is a great way to cook foods that have been sliced or cut into small or thin pieces. If you have a good-quality nonstick pan, you can cook food without even adding fat. Other easy ways to use this with reducing fat is to heat low-sodium broth, cooking spray or water in place of the lower quality oils.
Equipment – no stick cooking pans, spatula or wooden spoon, oil or cooking spray
A fantastic way to cook food in bulk while meal prepping for the week, specifically for things like rice and vegetables. On a personal note, this is my preferred method for cooking rice in the microwave and then having a small basket hanging above the rice being cooked that holds peppers and broccoli that cooks easily and in big enough portions that I have 4-5 meals worth of quality carbs and vegetables in about 20 minutes.
The best definition of steaming is a cooking techniques in a perforated basket suspended above simmering liquid. If you’re looking to add extra calories, instead of using water, you can use things like stock or broth in order to add flavor, salt and calories as needed.
Equipment – in its most basic form all you need is a heated liquid source, a way to hang it over that and then to let it cook. The more common equipment would be steaming pieces like the picture below for steamed dumplings, a microwave rice cooker, jacketed steam kettles are often used in restaurants and then stainless steel vegetable steamers.
Traditionally done in a wok, and originally started and perfected by Asian cultures, this method has become a go to for many types of food. Stir-frying is great for quickly cooking small, similarly cut pieces of food by stirring or sliding it consistently over heat in a large wok or frying pan. This is a great method because of how fast it can be done, the large portions of veggies, meats and the small amount of oil or cooking spray needed to make it happen.
For us here at PP this is often used for both our people looking to gain or lose weight. It is such an easy method to use for either very high or very low calorie meals. Want more caloreis and protein? Add more meat, tofu or soy. Want more carbs? Serve with noodles or rice that can be cooked in the wok/pan. Want fewer calories? Load up on more veggies and reduce the pasta or rice. A truly great way to prepare food quickly and amazing for meal prep in bulk.
Equipment – wok or non stick pan, wooden spoon or spatula, cooking spray or oil, stove top
Obviously, this list is not all encompassing, but it gives you 7 great ways to prepare foods in fast and efficient manners to help you reach your goals. Want to learn more about how to food prep and make great nutrition dense food? Click Here to sign up as part of our Powell Performance family today.