How to Create a Healthier Stir-fry

by on July 29th, 2014
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Stir-frying food is a healthy way of quickly cooking food, as it retains many of the nutrients that are cooked out of food. But if you want your stir-fry to be even healthier you will need to watch what you add to the pan.

Go Easy on the Use of Cooking Oil

Cooking oil will keep ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but if you are too liberal in your use of oil, the meal will end up heavy, greasy and full of extra calories. If you must use oil, opt for a healthier brand, such as extra virgin olive oil, which is lower in saturated fats than some brands of oil and contains higher levels of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Remember, too, that some stir-fry ingredients have a high water content, such as mushrooms, and will not need much oil to cook, as they will quickly give off water as they cook down. Rather than using a lot of cooking oil, use a fat-free cooking spray so that ingredients do not stick.

Use Low-Sodium Sauces

It is easy to get carried away and add a lot of high-sodium sauces such as soy sauce, or teriyaki to a stir-fry in order to re-create an authentic Oriental meal. But if you are trying to cut down on your sodium intake by eating a low-sodium diet, saturating the stir fry with high-sodium sauces will not help you to reach your goal.

Use low-sodium alternatives of your favourite sauces, but do not add twice as much. Use just a splash of sauce and let the flavour of the vegetables, meat and noodles come through so that the stir fry does not taste too overpowering. It is easier to adjust the taste of the stir-fry later on if it still needs extra seasoning than it is to fix a stir-fry that is far too salty.

Experiment with a Variety of Fruit and Vegetable Juices

There is no reason why you should always use oil to cook a stir-fry. Experiment with a variety of fruit and vegetable juices for a healthier base to the stir-fry. If you are cooking Peking duck, use orange juice or add lemon juice when stir-frying rice and vegetables. You can even mix different juices together until you come up with a flavour combination that works best with different ingredients.

Stir-frying food is healthy, quick and easy. But if your habits are unhealthy, you should look at ways to adjust the way you stir-fry food. Start by cutting back on your use of cooking oil, and using fat-free cooking sprays instead, use low-sodium sauces and experiment with a variety of natural fruit and vegetable juices to add a healthy kick to your meal.

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