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Top 10 Creative And Healthy Ways Of Cooking Fruits And Vegetables

Top 10 Creative And Healthy Ways Of Cooking Fruits And Vegetables

When we’re trying to stick to a healthy diet, it can definitely get boring. Another spinach salad? More raw cucumber? But eating healthy doesn’t mean you always have to stick to the same old stuff.

With these 10 creative ways to cook fruits and vegetables, you can make simple, refreshing dishes that are full of nutrients and health benefits. They taste so good that you won’t realize just how healthy they are!

1. Microwave them.

When most people think of the microwave, they think of easy-cook TV dinners and sodium-packed canned soup. But did you know that you can make healthy dishes in the microwave, too? You can cook nearly any vegetable in the microwave, but one of the easiest dishes to make is fresh carrots. Microwaved carrots are effortless and provide carotenoids that may reduce the risk of cancer and vitamin A that keeps eyes sharp.

Carrots

    Sweet Carrots

    Required ingredients: baby carrots, water, brown sugar, butter, white wine vinegar, salt

    Simply add the carrots and about 2 tablespoons of water to a bowl, cover it, and microwave for about five minutes (or until the carrots reach your desired tenderness). Drain the water, stir in the rest of the ingredients, and serve.

    2. Bake them.

    Baking is a great alternative to deep fried foods, as you can achieve the same level of crisp, delicious crunchiness without the grease and saturated fat from the deep fryer. One of the best recipes for a baked vegetable is baked avocado fries. These delicious fries have a crunchy shell and a creamy middle. The avocado provides many health benefits including fiber, B vitamins, folate, and healthy, cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats.

    Avocado

      Crispy Baked Avocado Fries

      Required ingredients: avocados, flour, eggs, chili powder, salt and pepper, panko bread crumbs, lemon juice

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      Cut the avocados into slices of whatever size you prefer. Dredge them in a mixture of flour and spices, then in the eggs, and then in panko bread crumbs. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes or until the fries are golden and crispy.

      3. Boil them.

      Boiling is a simple and healthy way of cooking fruits and vegetables, and it’s a great way to avoid adding fat or salt from oil and butter. It may sound boring, but you can make surprising dishes just with a little bit of boiling. This creative recipe Filipino twist on classic Japanese veggie sushi takes boiled rice and boiled vegetables and combines them into a healthy veggie sushi roll. The squash adds a fibrous dose of vitamin A and cancer-preventing carotenoids.

      Veggie

          Vegetable Sushi

          Required ingredients: rice, sugar, vinegar, squash, carrots, malunggay leaves, pechay Tagalog, salt and pepper

          This recipe calls for Filipino ingredients like malunggay leaves and pechay Tagalog, which can be substituted with bok choy or another nutritious leaf lettuce. Boil the rice, carrots, and squash separately. Cut the carrots into thin slices, and mash the squash with spices of your choice. Fill blanched bok choy leaves with the cooked rice, carrots, and squash, and roll into sushi-style hand rolls.

          4. Dehydrate them.

          Dehydration is another incredibly easy (and traditional) way to prepare fruits and vegetables. In addition to the nutrients from the all-natural fruits you choose, dehydrating requires no added sugars or preservatives. You get all of the health benefits of the fresh fruit but with a more concentrated flavor and longer shelf life.

          Fruit

            Homemade Dried Fruit

            Required ingredients: any fruit you like

            Wash and peel your selected fruit. For best results, choose a fruit that is just ripened and free from bruises or blemishes. Place the fruit on a baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch of space between them. Let them dry in an oven heated to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, with the oven door ajar. Stir as needed, baking up to 8 hours until the fruit is lightly chewy.

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            5. Steam them in a slow cooker.

            Rice cookers aren’t just made for cooking rice! You can also steam vegetables in them easily; some rice cookers even come with a steaming basket and corresponding power setting. But why stop at plain steamed vegetables when you can make gourmet dishes like a frittata? This recipe provides healthy protein from the eggs and vitamins and minerals from the lightly sauteed vegetables.

            Veggie

                Rice Cooker Frittata with Summer Vegetables

                Required ingredients: garlic, bell peppers, potato, zucchini, olive oil, salt and pepper, eggs, cheese

                To prepare for steaming in the rice cooker, saute chopped vegetables with garlic and olive oil. Add the egg mixture and cheese to the rice cooker, and then stir in the lightly cooked vegetables. Set the rice cooker to the regular rice setting, and wait until the cooker indicates that it’s done. Enjoy!

                6. Slow-cook them.

                Slow-cooking is a great way to prepare almost any food, even fruit! It requires almost no preparation or attention, and you have total control over the ingredients and nutrition profile of your dishes. One surprising slow-cooker dish is apple sauce. In addition to the high fiber, apples are also particularly rich in quertecin, an antioxidant that research has shown to slow cell death. Homemade apple sauce is healthier than store-bought versions, too, since it’s free of preservatives and lower in sugar.

                Apple

                  Slow-cooked Apple Sauce

                  Required ingredients: apples, sugar, water, salt, cinnamon, butter, vanilla extract

                  Place the apples, sugar, water, salt, and cinnamon in a slow cooker, cooking them on low for about eight hours. Add the butter and vanilla extract, allow the sauce to cool, and enjoy.

                  7. Blanch them.

                  Blanching not only maximizes the health benefits by preserving the vitamins and minerals of fresh vegetables, but it also removes any bitterness and gives veggies a nice pop of color. To blanch any vegetable, simply place it in boiling water for a short time (usually around one minute), remove, and immediately place into an ice bath to cool.

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                  Green Beans

                    Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic

                    Required ingredients: green beans, garlic, olive oil, butter, red pepper flakes, lemon

                    Blanch the fresh green beans in a pot of salted water. Lightly heat butter with the garlic and spices, and the pour the sauce over the blanched green beans. Top with lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

                    8. Pickle them.

                    Pickles may not seem healthy right away, but fermentation actually increases the probiotic content of vegetables. Keep in mind that naturally fermented pickles (ones that are not based on vinegar) are much higher in probiotics than quick, vinegar-based pickles. Cucumbers may be the most commonly eaten pickled food, but beets are another great vegetable to pickle due to their high potassium, folate, and fiber.

                    Pickles

                      Fermented Beets with Ginger and Orange

                      Required ingredients: beets, fresh ginger, vegetable starter culture, orange, honey, pickling spice

                      Mix vegetable starter culture with honey, and pour over the beets, ginger, orange, and pickling spice in a mason jar. Add enough water to cover the vegetables, and allow them to ferment at room temperature for about one week.

                      9. Roast them.

                      Once an underappreciated food (and not just by children!), brussel sprouts have recently started to receive their due praise. High in vitamins C, A, and K, Brussel sprouts are also packed with antioxidants that help promote healthy blood flow.

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                      Brussel sprouts

                        Roasted Brussel Sprouts

                        Required ingredients: Brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper

                        Remove any brown or yellow parts from the Brussel sprouts, and mix them well with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them on a sheet pan for about 40 minutes, stirring them as desired for even cooking.

                        10. Don’t cook them.

                        The easiest way to cook fruits and vegetables is, well, not cooking them! Eating raw foods preserves all of the natural vitamins and minerals in the ftuirs and vegetables and prevents the mess of pots and pans. Plus – eating raw isn’t just about baby carrots and hummus. This soup recipe is 100% raw, giving you all of the lutein, vitamin K, and iron of fresh spinach.

                        Spinach

                          Cream of Spinach Soup

                          Required ingredients: spinach leaves, cucumber, tomato, water, avocado, garlic, soy sauce, sea salt, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, olive oil

                          This recipe requires just one step: blend everything together in a food processor, and serve! Lightly heat the soup on the stove if you prefer a warmed version.

                          Need more healthy recipes? Try out these 8 recipes for a quick and effortless lunch.

                          Featured photo credit: Leonie Wise via unsplash.com

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                          Last Updated on April 8, 2020

                          Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                          Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                          Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

                          Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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                          Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

                          However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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                          The leap happens when we realize two things:

                          1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
                          2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

                          Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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                          Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

                          My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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                          In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

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