Healthy cooking tips

Indian food is prepared in unique style based on tried and tested methods passed-on through generations.

Looking at the current lifestyles which are more sedentary and driven by technology , cooking offers a great deal of variety and scope for innovation. Across households, there are some modifications to the recipes that may be required. The good news is that there are several options available to prepare the same foods in a more healthy manner by cutting down unnecessary calories.


Steam is the vapor coming from boiling water and its temperature is high enough to cook foods. Of course, the Indian culinary practices make extensive use of steaming for preparing idlis, dhoklas, idiappams, muthia, pankhi, etc Although we make use of some fat/oil for greasing the vessel in which food is placed for steaming, but it can be kept minimal. Steamed vegetables can be eaten easily with just some chaat masala and they retain most of their colour and nutritional value.

Grilling / Roasting

The method of grilling involves cooking on  a bed of charcoal embers or gas -heated rocks. It is the technique used to prepare barbecued foods. Grilling imparts a great flavour to vegetables such as potatoes, mushrooms, capsicum , baby corn , etc. generous amounts of spices can be added to enhance flavour and yes the grilled food tastes just as great without use of any oil.

In case of meat as well, grilling is a great alternative to deep fat frying. In fact, grilling allows the fat to drip away from the food


Baking involves exposing foods to high temperature (avg 170 degrees) for about 30-60 minutes. But, this largely varies with the type of food being cooked.  Baking is not restricted to cakes, cookies and breads, even meat, seafood and vegetables can be baked. Minimal spraying of oil/fat can be done on the baking trays but overall requirement for fat is much lower than conventional cooking methods. Some foods may be cooked covered while other can be allowed to come in direct contact with the heat.


Poaching involves cooking foods in liquids so that the absence of fat does not cause it to burn or stick to the pan. Vegetable / chicken broth, vinegar , wine or simply water can be used as a medium for cooking the food till it becomes tender.


Simply Sauteing vegetables in some olive oil is a better option than cooking them for long period in the pan. Often pan made with nonstick metal or a coated, nonstick surface, requires very little or no oil for cooking.

It is a well-known fact that vegetables should be cooked for short time and at lower temperature in order to retain their nutrients. In fact, they are intended to be eaten as it is in their raw state (paleo style) and our bodies are designed accordingly. However, it may not be practical to go back to the hunter-gatherer stage. But , at least let us not kill all the goodness of natural foods by subjecting them to prolonged heat and high temperatures. So try these alternate methods to cut back on the calories from fat.

Reference :

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Author: drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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