Meat is an important part of many people’s diets. It’s flavourful, satisfying, and full of high-quality protein and other essential nutrients. Different cooking techniques, however, may have an impact on the quality and health of meat.
Siphe Ntsabo (34), founder of Ntsabo African Cuisine in Parklands, Cape Town, believes that air frying is beneficial since it has fewer cholesterol and undesirable fats. Steaming your meat is also one of the cooking ways, she recommends.
“When steaming food, particularly veggies. There are various periods for steaming each food type. Foods should be steamed at a set time, such as five minutes, to maintain nutritional content and colour while reducing medical visits.”
She adds that grilling is another alternative, simply because it preserves the flavour and texture of the meat and results in an amazing feast. “Deep frying is a no-go zone,” Ntsabo says.
Poaching, more like steaming, is another easy cooking technique, according to the chef. It is incredibly nutritious and beneficial to our overall health.
Avoid added preservatives
Sisanda Tofile (30), a gym enthusiast from Khayelitsha, says she prefers her meats grilled and lightly seasoned. She tells Health For Mzansi that she has heard from her peers that adding too many spices to your meat can be very unhealthy. putting too many spices in a meat and just half cooking it is exceedingly unhealthy.
“We may roast meat with less fat or no fat at all, but just adding salt creates great texture and flavour,” she says. “Sodium and chloride, which are found in salt, regulate muscle contractions, neuron activity, blood pressure, and fluid balance.”
She believes nothing is healthier than steam your proteins.
What is the healthiest way to cook your foods?
Grilling, roasting, baking, boiling, steaming, pressure cooking, and air frying are some of the best methods to prepare meat, says Hayley Cimring, Nutrition Science Team Leader at the Heart, and Stroke Foundation South Africa.
“The recommendation is to trim any visible fat before cooking and letting hidden fat drain away from the meat. Place roasts and similar cuts on a rack in your cooking pan, so that the fat can drip away as the meat cooks, discard the fat.”
According to Cimring, the cut of meat is also essential. The slimmer cuts are usually fillets or cuts with the term’s “loin” or “round” in the name.
We should learn why meat is good for our bodies. According to Cimring it is high in protein, includes vitamin B and zinc, and has twice as much iron as chicken.
Is deep frying bad for you?
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSFSA), deep-fried foods contain unhealthy fats and can raise cholesterol levels which increases your risk for heart disease and strokes. “Therefore, you should avoid deep frying meat.”
Processed deli meats like hot dogs, salami, and bacon, which are high in unhealthy fats and salt, are also not recommended, according by Cimring.
She adds that a high salt consumption is connected to high blood pressure. “It is therefore important to reduce your salt intake to no more than 5g (1 teaspoon) of salt, from all sources, a day. Reduce the salt added to your meat during cooking and at the table.”
How much should you eat?
Cimring says that we must constantly keep an eye on our portions.
Try to portion your plate according to the ‘Plate Model’ where:
- ½ of your plate consists of non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots etc.
- ¼ of your plate consists of high fibre starches such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, sweet potato, butternut.
- ¼ of your plate consists of lean protein such as grilled skinless chicken, fish and lean meat.