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Check out these great tips on how to stay healthy while cooking from shape.com!

1. STEAMING

Steaming is, simply, cooking food in an enclosed environment infused with steam. You can steam in a variety of ways: with a covered, perforated basket that rests above a pot of boiling water; with a parchment wrapper or foil; with Chinese bamboo steamers that stack on top of a wok; and with convenient electric steamers. Steaming cooks and seals in flavor, eliminating the need for added fats during preparation. It also preserves nutrients better than any other cooking method except microwaving. It’s perfect for fish and shellfish because it doesn’t dry out the delicate flesh. Halibut, cod and snapper steam particularly well.

2. STIR-FRYING

Cooking at a very high heat for a very short time is the essence of stir-frying. Because food is cooked so quickly, it should be cut into small, uniform pieces to ensure every ingredient is cooked thoroughly. This is another method that requires your full attention, as continuous stirring and sometimes tossing of the ingredients are necessary to prevent food from sticking to the pan.

The best way to stir-fry is in a wok. The sloping sides and rounded bottom are specially designed so food can be quickly browned in the “belly” of the pan and then moved up to the sides, where it finishes cooking more slowly. Traditionally, Chinese woks are cast iron and take a while to heat up. Most woks today are made of carbon steel, which heats up and cools down more quickly. The wok is placed on a metal ring which sits over the burner. When it’s very hot, oil is added, followed by the food.

3. BROILING

One of the simplest of all cooking methods, broiling cooks by exposing food to direct heat in an electric or gas stove, usually in the bottom drawer of the oven. It renders the same results as grilling, but in grilling the heat comes from below, while in broiling it comes from above. Because the heat is constant, all you really need to do is move the food closer to or farther from the flame depending on how you like your food cooked. That means the thinner the cut of food, the closer the heat source should be so it quickly sears the surface of the food, leaving the interior less done. Because broiling is a dry-heat method of cooking (which means no additional oil), lean cuts of beef and chicken work best when marinated first or basted during cooking.

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