Holiday cooking tips

With the busy holiday season underway, use these tips to help save time and make healthier choices when preparing your meals.

By Adam Taki / Special to The Malibu Times

Reduce Your Sodium Intake This Holiday Season

With the recent interest in reducing sodium intake to reduce health problems associated with the high consumption of salt, read the nutrition labels of the foods you buy. Sodium is typically listed following fat and cholesterol. Cut back on the amount of salty, canned, processed and frozen foods you eat. Prepare your own foods and substitute salt with lemon juice, spices and herbs. This substitution should only enhance the taste profile.

Cut Out the Butter, Use Olive Oil

Many holiday recipes call for butter, however, in many cases the butter can be easily substituted with olive oil. Cooking with olive oil can help lower your risk of heart disease because it contains monounsaturated fat. As a matter of fact, according to the FDA, consuming about two tablespoons of olive oil a day may reduce your risk of heart disease. Substitute olive oil for butter, margarine and other oils when cooking.

Eat More Whole Grains

Current medical research highlights the importance of eating whole-grain foods at most meals. Eat at least three ounces of whole- grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day. Incorporate whole grains into your holiday feast by offering your guests whole-grain dinner rolls.

Running Short on Time … Use the Microwave

There never seems to be enough time during the holidays. Next time you find yourself in a pinch, don’t be afraid to use your microwave. What most people don’t know is that vegetables are ideal for microwave cooking. Microwaved vegetables retain their attractive color, fresh taste and natural texture. Since you add only a small amount of water, you don’t drain off flavor and nutrients before serving. Vegetables with high natural moisture content will taste more like themselves than you’ve ever experienced before. Until you taste microwaved corn on the cob, you’ll never realize how good corn tastes! Nutrition research indicates that many microwaved vegetables lose less water-soluble vitamin C than when cooked conventionally. This is due to the shorter cooking time and to the fact that less cooking water is needed when microwaving vegetables. Add crushed rosemary leaves and garlic salt to vegetables hot out of the microwave.

Don’t Overcook Your Roast

Roasted meat will continue to cook once you have removed it from the oven. Once removed from the oven the internal temperature will increase anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent, depending on the thickness. To avoid overcooking, take your roast out of the oven just prior to reaching the desired temperature.

Adam Taki is a native of Malibu. He is a food expert and co-founder of Amazing Taste Foods.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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