Food is essential to life. For many, it is a source of joy not just because of its delicious taste (when cooked right, of course), the visually pleasing components, and the memories created during meals, but food can also trigger the release of happy hormones. Those rich with omega 3 fatty acids, particularly, can boost the production of dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin.
However, food can fail, at times, in bringing your palate satisfaction even when the nutrients are there. This is often not the food’s fault but yours or anybody who prepares your meals. Bad food preparation can alter the taste and overall quality of a meal, and sometimes, even the nutritional value. What’s worse is, you may not even be aware of making any food-related mistakes.
To enlighten you about these so you can finally harness the advantages of having good food, here are the most common mistakes you may be committing:
1. You use ground lean meat.
There’s no denying that ground lean meat is healthier, but when you prepare it for tacos, chili, meatballs, burgers and other recipes that call for ground meat, lean meat fails at producing the right texture and flavor. For dishes that call for ground meat, it’s important for the meat to have a bit of fat — just a bit. Otherwise, it would be too dry and tasteless.
But if you only want to use ground lean meat for burgers and meatballs, consider chopped cherries as extenders. They tenderize the meat and make the flavor nicer.
2. You don’t “mix up” your protein bars.
Protein bars are great sources of sustenance for busy days but eating them in bar form all the time can get boring. So, try crumbling them over Greek yogurt or mixing them up with other healthy ingredients such as nuts and seeds. These energy-boosting snacks will cease being plain meal alternatives for hectic days and actually become yummy fantastic treats for yourself.
3. You use a small pan for big batches of food.
This is one of the culprits of unevenly cooked dishes. Also, for certain ingredients such as fries and other crisps, cooking a big batch in a small pan yields soggy results. This is because the heat from the pan gets trapped at the bottom and it creates steam that messes up the texture of the ingredient.
4. You sauté the garlic too early.
Garlic is a wonderful aromatic herb for cooking. It has a nice flavor apart from being quite nutritious. The problem is, most people toss it in first and it cooks really quickly. It’s best to cook the other aromatics first such as onions, ginger, and chilis and lower the heat when it’s time for the garlic to be added in. This will allow the garlic to cook evenly and retain its lovely flavor.
5. You slice meat right after it’s cooked.
No matter the kind of meat you cooked, it’s important to let it rest first once you’ve taken it off the heat. This will seal in the juices and flavor and a cooking strategy practiced in the best steakhouses. When you cut the meat after you’ve let it rest, it will be moist and tasty.
6. You flip your meat too often when cooking.
This is another bad habit that a lot of people have when cooking. Flipping your meat too often when cooking, particularly when frying, leads the meat to absorb too much oil (which you do not want if you are watching your health).
The key is to just leave the meat alone and wait for the oil to quiet down a bit or to stop splattering too much. When it has quieted some, that’s the time to turn the meat over.
7. You overmix batters.
Overmixing batters for cookies, cake, and even breading can mess up the texture of the final product. Flour, when mixed too much, activates gluten which makes baked goods dense or firm — a quality you do not necessarily want for baked goods.
What you need to do instead is to make sure that all the ingredients are well incorporated and, once you see that they are, stop mixing. Doing this will make baked goods soft, airy and very pleasing to eat.
Now that you are aware of these small mistakes, you can prepare your food much better so your meals are not only are nutritious but are also a delight to eat.
Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.” Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.