How to Prevent Vegetables From Losing Vitamins and Minerals During Cooking

by Megan Shoop

Moms know that vegetables contain very high amounts of nutrients and minerals. Veggies also provide you with vitamins essential to bodily functions. Their fibrous texture aids digestion, and most vegetables are low in calories, making them ideal for healthy living and weight loss. However, according to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, certain cooking methods can leach vegetables of their nutrients, robbing you and your kids of their full benefits. The right cooking methods preserve the nutrients and improve your family's overall health.

Cook vegetables whole as often as possible. Opening the flesh of the vegetables to hot water and roasting pans leaves the nutrient-rich parts exposed, aiding nutrient loss. If you must cut your vegetables, cut them very small so they heat quickly and lose as few nutrients as possible.

Leave the skins on your vegetables, if you can. If not, peel them as thinly as possible, using a vegetable peeler instead of a paring knife. The most nutrient-rich part of a vegetable is often right underneath the skin.

Place the vegetables of your choice into a colander and rinse them well under room-temperature water before cooking. Wash the vegetables before cutting them to avoid losing water-soluble vitamins.

Steam or simmer vegetables instead of boiling. For steaming, suspend the vegetables over the water in a mesh steaming basket. For simmering, just cover the vegetables in water and keep the heat on medium. The water should bubble just a little and never reach a boil.

Save the water from cooking vegetables. No matter your cooking method, it will always absorb some of the nutrients. Use the water as a base for gravies, soups, sauces and stews.

Sauté vegetables instead of frying or deep-frying them. A fast sauté with just a little cooking oil in a wok, sears veggies and locks in the nutrients. Small-cut veggies cook fast this way.

Avoid roasting veggies, especially cut ones. If you want to roast sweet potatoes, potatoes or other tubers, leave them whole and cover them during the roasting process.

Items you will need

  • Vegetable peeler
  • Colander
  • Mesh steaming basket
  • Saucepan
  • Wok
  • Cooking oil

Photo Credits

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