2

votes

Nutrient degradation when preparing food.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 14, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Hey guys, what are your thoughts on preparing food at the beginning of the week & nutrient degradation? I have a very large family, luckily me & my other half are very keen cooks & we cook from scratch 90% of the time. I have thought about bulk preparation myself as it would be a lot easier & less time consuming. I have seen the odd post from Paleo bloggers saying that they spend Sunday preparing food for the coming week, an example is Mark Sisson keeping his 'big-ass-salad' pre washed & cut in the refrigerator, my understanding is that it's best to keep the food in its natural form for as long as possible as cutting/washing it will start the process where it will start to lose its goodness. What kind of loss are we talking here? 50% loss or turning to cardboard after 3 days? Is there a sort of cut off point where it just not worth eating?

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 15, 2013
at 05:12 PM

"Inferior vegetables?" Hehheh. It's good of you to be informed and concerned about food quality, but don't take it to the point that the worry and stress are actually *detrimental* to your health. Regular ol' veggies from the supermarket are still better than Frosted Flakes! You said you have a very large family. I assume that means taking care of lots of little ones...don't obsess about the details. Your halo & place in heaven are already guaranteed. ;-)

C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

(925)

on January 14, 2013
at 11:45 PM

Thanks for your input sdk, i'm not worried about it as i cook from scratch all the time, i was just curious about the effect on food being pre-prepared & thought i'd ask about a bit. I just wanted some input to see wether it would be worth it to pre-prepare or just carry on as i am.

C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

(925)

on January 14, 2013
at 11:40 PM

I'm no paleomaniac Matt honestly haha, i'm quite lax, (70/30) a bit worse at weekends, so i try to do the good as best i can to minimize the bad! I know where you are coming from though, It can do more harm than good trying to be perfect.

C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

(925)

on January 14, 2013
at 11:33 PM

Thanks Amy, this is a great answer! i do cook from scratch everyday & it does take time, that was why i asked you guys as i've been thinking about pre-preparing. I know what you mean about the old takeout, i've disciplined for the most part...i think the biggie for me would be driving backwards & forwards (6 mile round trip) to buy quality veg from a farm, a lot of the time i take the easy option & go to my local supermarket & buy inferior vegetables. I could buy twice as much of the good stuff & prepare two meals worth. Plus my whole house enjoy leftovers! =o) .. Thanks again Amy!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 14, 2013
at 10:12 PM

Take a step back and breathe: don't take optimization to such an extreme.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on January 14, 2013
at 08:15 PM

I wash my vegetables right before using them. However, I would only be concerned about the amount of moisture I'm added to them if not using them immediately - I don't want to increase chance of mold.

C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

(925)

on January 14, 2013
at 06:53 PM

Thanks greymouser, that has answered half of my question (i'm not very clear sometimes) what is your opinion on uncooked veg? as in washing & cutting the night before? this is my bigger concern, murdering my food before it even gets to the pan/steamer/oven.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on January 14, 2013
at 04:08 PM

I had a somewhat similar query: http://paleohacks.com/questions/173058/best-way-to-pre-prepare-and-store-fish#axzz2HvoqixU3 Would like to know if there's anything I can add to the food that will preserve it better, eg. oils or juices?

  • C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

    asked by

    (925)
  • Views
    1.9K
  • Last Activity
    1284D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers

best answer

3
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 14, 2013
at 09:01 PM

I think there are legitimate issues with nutrient degradation over time, but the bigger issue is implementing a preparation strategy that will maximize your chances of eating real food the vast majority of the time.

In other words, if making a huge batch of chili, soup, or prepping a bunch of cut-up raw veggies to snack on throughout the week will make it easier for you to have appropriate foods on hand and readily available, rather than getting home from work and wanting to fall face-first into takeout Chinese, I think it's well worth it, regardless of the potential nutrient losses. The good stuff you'll lose in a couple of days is probably far less than the bad stuff you would gain by eating whatever's quick and convenient if you didn't have anything ready ahead of time.

That being said, simple things don't take much time to prepare and can often be done while doing other things. (For example, assuming you've got more than one burner on the stove, you can simmer a batch of chili while hard boiling a dozen eggs, and be peeling/chopping veg to keep in the fridge. And something could be in the oven at the same time, too. Nothing wrong with baking a bunch of chicken breasts all at once, roasting some root veg, or making a big meat loaf to eat over the course of a few days.)

Some nutrients are destroyed by heat/cooking, and some degrade slightly when exposed to air (as in when cut/sliced and then kept around). Unless you're going to eat everything fresh and raw, you're always going to lose some nutrients. (Vitamins much more so than minerals.)

I know this isn't the most helpful answer, but I honestly think that unless you're willing and able to spend time cooking and preparing food every day (and likely multiple times a day), prepping ahead of time is very helpful, even knowing you'll lose a little of the nutrition. (ANd I guess you have to like leftovers, too!) =)

C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

(925)

on January 14, 2013
at 11:33 PM

Thanks Amy, this is a great answer! i do cook from scratch everyday & it does take time, that was why i asked you guys as i've been thinking about pre-preparing. I know what you mean about the old takeout, i've disciplined for the most part...i think the biggie for me would be driving backwards & forwards (6 mile round trip) to buy quality veg from a farm, a lot of the time i take the easy option & go to my local supermarket & buy inferior vegetables. I could buy twice as much of the good stuff & prepare two meals worth. Plus my whole house enjoy leftovers! =o) .. Thanks again Amy!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 15, 2013
at 05:12 PM

"Inferior vegetables?" Hehheh. It's good of you to be informed and concerned about food quality, but don't take it to the point that the worry and stress are actually *detrimental* to your health. Regular ol' veggies from the supermarket are still better than Frosted Flakes! You said you have a very large family. I assume that means taking care of lots of little ones...don't obsess about the details. Your halo & place in heaven are already guaranteed. ;-)

2
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on January 14, 2013
at 03:21 PM

There is going to be no appreciable loss of nutrients from food that are stored after cooking, in the fridge or freezer. A noticeable, hypothethical loss of nutrients from the food may occur from the reheating method used: boiling will reduce nutrients greatly (not a common reheating method), microwave somewhat, and oven warming the least.

As always, keep your leftovers in containers away from excess moisture and exposure to air. Exposure may or may not change nutrient profile of cooked food, but it will increase chances of spoilage.

C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

(925)

on January 14, 2013
at 06:53 PM

Thanks greymouser, that has answered half of my question (i'm not very clear sometimes) what is your opinion on uncooked veg? as in washing & cutting the night before? this is my bigger concern, murdering my food before it even gets to the pan/steamer/oven.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on January 14, 2013
at 08:15 PM

I wash my vegetables right before using them. However, I would only be concerned about the amount of moisture I'm added to them if not using them immediately - I don't want to increase chance of mold.

0
9d48ffbea5ef3f4fb5481b69f9d5e3ba

(20)

on January 14, 2013
at 09:29 PM

ehh i wouldnt worry about. More worrying means more cortisol(stress hormone)in your body. Just eat primal whole foods, get plenty of sleep and sunlight everyday and dont worry about the rest:)

C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

(925)

on January 14, 2013
at 11:45 PM

Thanks for your input sdk, i'm not worried about it as i cook from scratch all the time, i was just curious about the effect on food being pre-prepared & thought i'd ask about a bit. I just wanted some input to see wether it would be worth it to pre-prepare or just carry on as i am.

-2
2e61811b43f9eadcc070cbc52d3bac43

on January 14, 2013
at 09:38 PM

I never heard that boiling or frying, or storing in the freezer affects macronutrient content (e.g., calories, fiber, etc.,) and some macrominerals. However, it will definitely affect the vitamins, organic acids, and micronutrients in bioform.

<-------------------------------------------------> Can you express your everyday life in numbers? Can you improve your life by turning it into a series of games and experiments? Follow my personal Quantified Self experiment to find out: http://www.measuredme.com

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!