Lately there has been concern over whether or not food – specifically fruits and vegetables – keep their nutrient value after being cut up or cooked. Many have expressed concerns and even disdain over prepping food in advance, saying that it diminishes their nutritional content. But, is it true? Or is it just a myth?
With work, school, and other responsibilities, however, who has time to prepare every single meal on the spot? You know what they say, fail to plan, plan to fail, and not prepping our food in advance sounds like a lot of lazy nights of take out to us. (Hello, freshman year of college!) Well, we have good news for those of you who like to prepare your food in advance:
According to an important study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in May 2006, researchers discovered that fresh-cut fruit (i.e. mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, etc.) do NOT, in fact, lose most of its nutrients. Antioxidants vitamin C, carotenoids, and phenois actually are shown to be preserved in the fruit – even if it is cut up – as long as they are stored in a clear plastic container and refrigerated. In general, fruit is said to lose most of its nutrient value when it spoils, and who’s going to eat that anyways?
Even though the amount of nutrients in fresh-cut fruit did not decrease significantly, most of the fruits lost up to around 10-15% on average. However, keep in mind this was after 6-9 days. We recommend preparing your meals for the next 5-7 days and not to push it. Choose a time on Sunday and prepare your meals for the week.
More strategies for preparing food in advance ?
Blanching vegetables to keep them flavorful and crisp. Boil water, cook vegetable of choice for 1 minute, and there you go! Why one minute only? If you cook the vegetables for too long, their water-soluble vitamins (B complex and C specifically) will go down the drain. By blanching them quickly, you’ll keep these vitamins intact.
Other ways to cook veggies the safe way include steaming, roasting, and microwaving. All these methods involve minimal amounts of water, therefore keeping those water-soluble vitamins in your favorite vegetable as opposed to down a drain.
In general, we recommend preparing food in advance as opposed to being scared of it. This ensures you’ll have delicious home-cooked meals and are less likely to opt to eat out. Less time eating out, in turn, equals more control over what you eat. Sometimes what you see is not what you get at restaurants. Hidden butter? Hidden fats? No, thanks. We’re more than happy to prepare our meals a week ahead!