Keep Food Nutritious

Reading Guide

Use Color As you read this section, try using different colored pens to take notes. This can help you learn new material and study for tests. You could use red for vocabulary words, blue for explanations, and green for examples.

Read to Learn

Key Concepts

• Evaluate cooking methods to prevent nutrient loss.

• Outline ways to reduce the amount of fat, cholesterol, and sodium in recipes.

Main Idea

Knowing what nutrients are contained in food is just one part of nutritional knowledge. A chef should also know the effect of cooking on the nutrient content of food.

Graphic Organizer

Use a spider map like this one to illustrate ways to prevent nutrient loss. Fill in tips to prevent nutrient loss on the branches of each line.

Content Vocabulary

• batch cooking

• smoking point

Academic Vocabulary




Healthful Cooking Techniques

Healthful Cooking Techniques

■J'/ Graphic Organizer Go to this book's Online Learning Center at for a printable graphic organizer.

^ English Language Arts

NCTE 12 Use language to accomplish individual purposes.

1 Mathematics

NCTM Number and Operations Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.

Science NSESE Develop understandings about science and technology.

NCTE National Council of Teachers of English

NCTM National Council of Teachers of Mathematics NSES National Science Education Standards

NCSS National Council for the Social Studies

Nutrient Loss Prevention

Suppose a pregnant woman dining at a restaurant orders red beans and rice. She knows that beans are an excellent source of iron, which is essential for a healthy pregnancy. What she may not know, however, is that the nutritional value of the beans could vary depending on how they are prepared.

From the time a food product is separated from the land or water, the possibility for nutrient loss begins. However, the way a food is prepared can speed up or slow down this process, or series of events or actions. A food's nutrients can be lost through improper preparation, cooking, and storage. The techniques that destroy nutrients can also destroy a food's color, texture, and flavor. You must know how to retain the maximum amount of nutrients in the foods that you cook.


The same elements that can harm food during preparation can harm it as it is being cooked. Follow these general guidelines while cooking to keep more nutrients in food:

• High temperatures can destroy vitamins in foods, such as deep-fried potatoes. Cook foods at the specified temperature.

• Prolonged cooking also causes nutrient loss. Do not overcook food items, such as boiled vegetables.

• Foods lose nutrients with age, so use them as soon as possible. Most foodservice operations use fresh produce and meats within three to four days and fresh ground meats within one to two days of receiving them.

• Nutrients, especially water-soluble vitamins B and C, will leach into the water. To leach means to dissolve. For this reason, do not let vegetables rest in water before or after cooking. When you clean produce, do not soak items in water for longer than necessary.

Healthful Cooking Techniques

It is the responsibility of foodservice operations to provide the public with tasty, healthful food choices. Menus should offer a variety of foods to fit different dietary needs. For example, you might cook using fresh, high-quality foods to provide customers with flavorful, healthful dishes.

Certain cooking techniques are better than others at keeping a food's full nutrititional value. These techniques include steaming, grilling, poaching, stir-frying, and microwaving.

• Steaming This technique uses steam to cook food. Steaming can be done in a commercial steamer, a steam jacketed kettle or in pots with special steamer inserts.

Keep Nutrients How well foods maintain their nutrients depends on how the foods are prepared. Will the food being prepared in this photo keep most of its nutrients?

^ J Keep Cool Once food is received, it should be stored properly. Fresh foods should be kept cool. How else can cool temperatures be used in cooking?

Methods such as boiling can cause food to quickly lose vitamins into the liquid. Few nutrients are lost, however, when steaming.

• Grilling Foods that are grilled are cooked on a grid-like surface above a heat source. Grilling requires little or no fat and, if done correctly, results in tender foods with a charbroiled flavor.

• Poaching Poaching involves gently simmering food in just enough liquid to cover the item. No fat is added, and the small amount of liquid minimizes the effects of leaching. The liquid can also be made into a sauce or soup.

• Stir-Frying Stir-frying is a technique that quickly cooks food in a minimum amount of oil. It results in crisp, colorful vegetables with minimal nutrient loss.

• Microwaving Microwaving is often used in foodservice operations to reheat foods quickly. Foods can be prepared, stored, and then reheated in a microwave as they are needed. This retains a food's nutrients by eliminating the need to keep the food hot for a long period of time. It is also healthful because no fat is added.


When serving food, it is important to remember how to keep foods from losing flavor and nutrients before they are eaten. Nutrients can still be lost after food is cooked. Storage exposes food to the harmful effects of water, light, air, and time. Use cool temperatures, lessen, or reduce, holding time, and cook in smaller batches to minimize these effects.


Cool temperatures can slow down the processes that destroy a food's nutrients. One way to do this is to plunge cooked vegetables into cold water to stop the cooking process. Do not leave items in the water because the nutrients will leach out. Also, store covered foods in the refrigerator to slow down nutrient loss.


Food should not be held in a steam table for a long period of time. Exposure to heat and water will eventually remove some of the food's nutrients. If possible, continue to move the food around in the pan to avoid overcooking the food on the bottom.


One way to lessen food storage problems is to use batch cooking. Batch cooking is the process of preparing small amounts of food several times throughout a foodservice period. This decreases the amount of food that will have to be kept warm. It also allows the kitchen to turn out freshly prepared meals for customers to enjoy.

I Describe How do time and water impact food nutritionally?

Fats and Oils

Fat plays an important role as both a nutrient and a food. As a nutrient, it helps the body perform many important functions. Fat adds flavor, which is the first concern of most diners. Most vegetable oils have an average smoking point of 400°F (204°C). A smoking point is the temperature at which an oil will smoke in a pan. Figure 11.9 lists the most common cooking oils and their uses.

Reduce Fat

Reduce fat and cholesterol with these suggestions:

• Reduce Fat Choose lean cuts of meat, and trim the fat, and remove skin from poultry. Use nonstick or cast-iron pans so that food can be cooked in less fat.

• Reduce Total Fat The total amount of fat and oil in many recipes can be reduced with little effect on flavor.

• Reduce Saturated Fat Oils rich in flavor, such as olive oil, can be substituted in smaller amounts for saturated animal fats. Replace part of the butter in a recipe with oil, low-fat sour cream, or yogurt.

• Replace Fat Where possible, replace part or all of the whole eggs in a recipe with egg whites or egg substitutes. Use high-quality, reduced-fat dairy products. Replace part of the fat in baking with puréed fruits. A purée is a food in which one or more of the ingredients have been ground in a food processor or blender.

^Cut the Fat Trimming the fat from cuts of meat is one way to reduce the amount of fat in a recipe. In what other ways can you reduce fat in a recipe?

[M figure 11.9 Common Cooking Oils

Nutrient and Food Oils play a role in nutrition as both a nutrient and a food. What body functions do you think these oils helps perform?

Cooking Oils



• High in monounsaturated fat

• Neutral, light-colored oil with little flavor

• Also known as rapeseed oil because it comes from the rape plant

All types of cooking, especially frying and baking


• High in saturated fat

• Little color

Used in blended oils and shortenings


• High in polyunsaturated fat

• Light, amber-colored oil

• Slight cornmeal flavor

• Sometimes marketed as salad oil

Frying, salad dressing


• High in polyunsaturated fat

• Pale yellow oil with sweet flavor

• Extracted from cotton plant seeds

• Quality depends on the season, type of fertilizer used, and the way it was extracted

Shortening, salad dressing


• High in monounsaturated fat

• Quality depends on soil, growing conditions, olive type, and the way it was extracted

• Extra-virgin olive oil, meaning it was made from the first pressing of olives, is the highest quality

• Ranges in color from deep green to pale yellow

All types of cooking, salad dressing


• High in monounsaturated fat

• Amber-colored oil with a very mild to nutty flavor

Frying, deep-frying, salad dressing


• Very high in polyunsaturated fat

• Golden-colored oil

Margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing

Sesame Seed

• High in polyunsaturated fat

• Two types: Middle Eastern, which is light with a mild flavor, and Asian, which is dark with a distinct, nutty flavor

All types of cooking


• High in polyunsaturated fat

• Quality affected by season, climate, soil, and the way it was extracted

Margarine, salad dressing, shortening


• Very high in polyunsaturated fat

• Pale yellow oil with little flavor or odor

All types of cooking, salad dressing, margarine, shortening


• Polyunsaturated fat

• Products labeled vegetable oil are blended from many sources

• Other types of vegetable oil are corn, soybean, and cottonseed

All types of cooking, salad dressing

Try these other options to cook with less fat:

• Offer Plant-Based Foods In addition to lean meats, offer menu items based on pasta, rice, grains, and legumes. Also, increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables served with or included as part of an entrée. Plant-based foods appeal to vegetarians and people who want low-fat, high-fiber meals.

• Change Cooking Techniques Roasting, steaming, and baking require little or no added fat. They are more healthful than methods like deep-frying and pan-frying.

• Use Seasonings and Flavorings Season foods with herbs and spices instead of butter. Use low-fat marinades with meats and seafood. Replace high-fat sauces with salsas or relishes. Use Special Equipment Specially made equipment can make low-fat cooking easier. For example, nonstick pans and cast-iron pans allow food to be browned in a minimal amount of fat. Reduce Portion Size Limit portion sizes of meat, poultry, and seafood to three to four ounces (precooked weight). Three ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Increase portion sizes of vegetables, grains, beans, and pasta.

I List What are three ways that you can reduce the amount of fat in a recipe?


Review Key Concepts

1. Outline healthful cooking techniques.

2. Explain how to replace fat in a dish.

Practice Culinary Academics ^ Science

Procedure Research one food product that was created using science and technology to meet special health needs, such as artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes.

Analysis Write an analysis of the product and its benefits and drawbacks. Use scientific language to compare it to the food product for which it is a substitute.

NSES E Develop understandings about science and technology.

^^ English Language Arts

4. Imagine that you area nutrition expert hired to demonstrate to cooks how to prepare foods to conserve nutrients. Prepare a five-minute oral presentation, and give it to your class.

NCTE 12 Use language to accomplish individual purposes.

1 Mathematics

5. An oat cereal has 3.5 grams of fat per % cup serving, while a puffed cereal has 5 grams of fat per 14 cup serving. Given identical-size portions of each cereal, which one has more fat?

Comparing Fat Content To compare nutritional values of products with unequal serving sizes on their labels, use proportions to recalculate the values based on equal serving sizes, such as 1 cup. Starting Hint Convert the serving sizes to decimals. For each cereal, find out how many fat grams are in 1 cup by setting up a proportion (for example, 3.5 grams / 0.75 cups = x / 1 cup) and solving for x.

NCTM Number and Operations Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.

J- Check your answers at this book's Online trS9 |_earnjng


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