When it comes to healthy eating, the way you cook your food is just as important as the types of food you choose. Methods such as roasting and frying can be high in fat, which is why grilling or boiling are healthier options. One of the healthiest ways to cook food, however, is by steaming.
Steaming is a great way to cook many different types of food, as it doesn’t need added fat or oils during the cooking process. A steamer works by using boiling water to create steam, which is then trapped within a vessel along with the food to be cooked. The food doesn’t come into contact with the water but instead is gently cooked within the steam. The result is moist food that is generally low in fat and high in nutrients. Steaming is ideal for lots of different food types from vegetables to meat and fish. Many people find that steamed foods have a better texture and flavour than foods cooked using other methods – possibly because of the gentle way in which the food is cooked. Compared to boiling, more nutrients remain in steamed foods, too. Fewer minerals are lost than with boiling, and more of the fragile vitamins are retained. For example, the vitamin C content of vegetables is reduced by 25% during boiling, but by only 15% with steaming.
Today’s steamers come in all shapes and sizes. Choose from large electric steamers, capable of cooking several different ingredients at once, to traditional inexpensive bamboo steamers, which you can use over a pan of boiling water.