When it comes to making lunch or dinner, roasting is one of the most common methods used in cooking. Whether your food is cooked on your barbecue outside or just baked in your oven, roasting meats and vegetables is a quick and easy way of cooking that doesn’t take up too much of your time. All you need to do is toss some veggies with oil or season a chicken with some salt and pepper before tossing them into the oven to cook for a few minutes to a few hours.
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Whenever you have enough time, you can quickly check the internal temperatures and flip the food if needed before going back to your chores or work.
At the end of the day, you have a meal waiting for you and your family.
What many people don’t entirely realize is that there are actually a few benefits when roasting your foods. Naturally, many of these benefits come from a quick roast or char in the oven or on your barbecue, not being cooked dark and crisp.
But with the right seasonings, many vegetables and even some meats have a number of great health benefits that only really come out if roasted.
To learn more about the reasons why roasting your food is great for you and your family, we’ve gathered some of them for you. Some are health benefits while others simply make your meat and veggies that much more fun to enjoy.
While most foods have their own hosts of benefits and health risks, roasting your food can lead to wanting more and enjoying the experience of sharing a meal with others.
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Retains most of the nutrients
When it comes to barbecuing meats and vegetables on your grill, a lot of heat is used to cook the food thoroughly. More often than not, high heat on most propane grills is high enough to reach 400 degrees Fahrenheit, with some reaching even higher to 600 Fahrenheit.
With such high levels of heat, the food you cook on the barbecue is usually cooked faster, allowing them to retain many of the nutrients that would otherwise be lost.
Vegetables are an especially good food group to be roasted since they frequently hold quite a lot of nutrients in them. Roasting your vegetables on the barbecue, on a griddle, or even just in the oven can help retain most of the vitamins that would be lost if you simply boiled veggies in water.
The heat breaks down the cell walls, releasing the additional nutrients that the veggies have in their skins.
Carrots and tomatoes, for example, are often shown to have much higher levels of carotenoids, lycopene, and other antioxidants. Some vitamins may be lost, but others are often released and make up for it.
Less fat is added to the food
One of the more important ingredients when it comes to roasting meats and vegetables is the oil you use to give the food a little crisp. While it isn’t always needed, a bit of oil drizzled onto the food can enhance or even add flavor.
But when compared to other methods of cooking, like deep or shallow frying, the little bit of oil you use can actually make it healthier for you.
Many oils have some degree of fat and calories in them, and frying foods in them can lead to that oil getting absorbed into whatever you’re frying. When it comes to roasting, the very fact that you add far less oil means that those fats aren’t absorbed.
Of course, the type of oil you use can also give its own benefits.
Both canola and extra virgin olive oils typically have higher smoking points, and when combined with their lower fat contents, makes the dish the oil is used on much healthier. Other oils like coconut and avocado oil have similar benefits all while adding their own flavors to the dishes.
Gain a few more nutrients from the veggie skins
As mentioned earlier, the cooking process of the food depends on how many more nutrients you get out of it. Harder vegetables like carrots and eggplants tend to soften when roasted and cooked, their meat and rinds losing some of what binds them tightly together.
When they loosen, the nutrients in the skins and harder meat of the veggies are released.
This is one of the reasons that many dietitians and chefs say to avoid peeling your vegetables if possible. Even something as simple as leaving potato skins on when roasting them can be good.
The same principle applies to cooking some leafy vegetables. When cooking spinach or kale, the nutrients in the leaves’ cell walls are released as they wilt in the heat. If you compare a cup or so of cooked spinach leaves to what they were before, you can find that the calcium content of the cooked spinach is three times higher.
Even the iron that you get from spinach is tripled if you cook it first. This benefit also applies to meat, with the myoglobin you get from roast beef being a protein that helps carry oxygen far better.
Makes the food taste good
Naturally, roasting your food – or even just cooking it in a pan – can make it taste better. More often than not, the roasting process involves seasoning with salt and pepper at the very least.
But even if you don’t add any seasonings, roasting makes your food taste better. The heat from the barbecue or your oven breaks down the fibers and some molecules before rearranging them to create new ones.
This process actually changes the taste of the food and makes it better. When comparing steak tartare and a medium well steak, the taste differences between them make it clear that cooking affects the flavor.
Applying this to vegetables likely works the same, making them more delicious and appealing to those that may not like veggies.
Roasting your food can mean a lot of good things for you and your family, whether it’s directly or not. In the process of making good food, roasting it right can also make it healthier. The vitamins that are in the food are retained and if seasoned well enough, can make you want to eat more veggies.