Like baking, but typically at higher temperatures, roasting uses an oven's dry heat to cook the food. You can roast foods on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. For poultry, seafood and meat, place a rack inside the roasting pan so that the fat in the food can drip away during cooking. To maintain moisture, cook foods until they reach a safe internal temperature but don't overcook them.
Sauteing quickly cooks relatively small or thin pieces of food. If you choose a good-quality nonstick pan, you can cook food without using fat. Depending on the recipe, use low-sodium broth, cooking spray or water in place of oil.
One of the simplest cooking techniques is steaming food in a perforated basket suspended above simmering liquid. If you use a flavorful liquid or add seasonings to the water, you'll flavor the food as it cooks.
A traditional Asian method, stir-frying quickly cooks small, uniform-sized pieces of food while they're rapidly stirred in a wok or large nonstick frying pan. You need only a small amount of oil or cooking spray for this cooking method.
Using herbs and spices
Creating meals using spices and herbs is one of the best ways to add color, taste and aroma to foods without adding salt or fat. Choose fresh herbs that look bright and aren't wilted, and add them toward the end of cooking. Add dried herbs in the earlier stages of cooking. When substituting dried herbs for fresh, use about one-half the amount.
April 08, 2014
See more In-depth
- Healthy cooking and snacking. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/eat-right/healthy-cooking.htm. Accessed Dec. 16, 2013.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 16, 2013.
- Healthier preparation methods for cooking. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyCooking/Healthier-Preparation-Methods-for-Cooking_UCM_301484_Article.jsp#. Accessed Dec. 16, 2013.
- 6 ways to add flavor to your food. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442470195&terms=healthycookingtechniques. Accessed Dec. 16, 2013.
- Healthy eating glossary. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://healthyeating.nhlbi.nih.gov/(X(1)S(q4pknt451sjrro45injmsdqg))/glos.aspx?linkId=2. Accessed Dec. 16, 2013.
- Hensrud DD, et al. The Mayo Clinic Diet. Intercourse, Pa.: Good Books; 2010:162.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov. Accessed Dec. 16, 2013.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Dec. 16, 2013.