Cooking Methods

Creating delicious healthy balanced food is more than just using the right ingredients. The methods you use to cook ingredients play a vital part in the delivery of healthy balanced dishes. Simply changing the way that you prepare and cook foods significantly changes the nutritional content of a dish.

Using the humble spud as an example, there is a significant difference in the fat content of chips in comparison to boiled potatoes. This difference is simply due to the cooking method used. It is therefore very important to think about how you cook dishes to make them healthier. The best cooking methods are those that use no fat or oil and good cooking methods use the minimum amounts of fat or oil.

Healthier cooking methods include:

  • Those that use no additional fat or oil:
    • Steaming
    • Grilling
    • Boiling
    • Poaching
    • Dry frying
    • Baking
    • Roasting without fat or oil on a rack
  • Those that use small amounts of fat or oil:
    • Stir frying
    • Braising with some fat
    • Baking with some additional fat

Cooking methods that use a large amount of fat or oil should be avoided when healthier alternatives can be used. These methods include deep frying, shallow frying, roasting in fat and sautéing.


Cooking can reduce levels of some nutrients including vitamin C and some B vitamins in foods, particularly vegetables. Some top tips for preserving levels of nutrients in vegetables:

  • Steaming vegetables helps retain more vitamins than boiling
  • Stir frying is a great way of retaining nutrients in vegetables
  • Cut vegetables into larger pieces- this helps preserve nutrients when boiling