Most of the food that we eat is cooked to make it easily digestible and good to eat. Cooking involves heating the food items and addition of salt, sugar, oil and spices. Cooking has both beneficial and adverse effects on the nutritive value of food items. It improves the taste and digestibility of some food items on one hand and leads to loss of nutrients on the other. Cooking food items in water and then throwing away the water results in heavy loss of nutrients, especially proteins and mineral salts. Cooking food above 700 C for long destroys the proteins by making them hard and difficult for the body to absorb.
Prevention of Food Wastage:
India is a poor country where millions of people do not get enough food to eat. Hence, we should never waste food.
To prevent wastage of food, we should take the following steps:
1. Control of weeds and harmful insects in fields would increase yield of food grains, fruits and vegetables.
2. Proper storage of food grains (cereals) and fruits and vegetables is essential to protect them from damage due to abiotic factors like temperature and humidity and biotic factors like rodents, birds, insects and microbes. Cereals and pulses should be stored in clean and dry containers or gunny bags stored in clean and dry containers or gunny bags stored in clean, well-ventilated godowns. Suitable pesticides may be used to keep off pests. Fruits and vegetables should be stored in refrigerators or cold storage (as the case may be).
3. We should keep the nutritive value and the comparative cost of food articles in mind while buying them.
4. We should buy only that much quantity of food which can either be consumed or kept safely at home.
5. We should not waste food at social and religious functions.
6. We should avoid excessive refining and processing of food.
7. We should avoid undesirable cooking practices like:
- Fruits and vegetables should not be washed after cutting or peeling as this may lead to washing away of many water-soluble vitamins.
- Food should not be cooked in open pans. Pressure cooker should be used for cooking.
- Excessive use of baking soda should be avoided as it destroys vitamin C and vitamin B complex.
- Repeated washing of pulses should be avoided.