What about roasting vegetables (e.g. squash, cauliflower, etc.)? Does that cause nutrient loss? I was under the impression that roasting vegetables was a great way to bring out the natural sugars, hence making them more desirable to kids. Similarly, what about grilling?
Both roasting and grilling are very high-heat cooking methods, and ones that typically brown or discolor the food. Both of these processes destroy nutrients in the food, and may even introduce harmful compounds, like acrylamide, depending on the type of food. You can learn more about this in the following article: Could one of our favorite roast veggies be a cancer risk. I also talk about how it impacts both plant and animal foods in my book Healing & Prevention Through Nutrition, and why such cooking methods are best avoided for optimal health. Aside from introducing a cancer risk, consuming foods that have been cooked in such ways creates an inflammatory response in the body, which is further exacerbated if any oils were used.
Both roasting and grilling have become popular culinary cooking methods in our society for flavor enhancement, but from a health perspective roasting and grilling are not a good idea. The odd lightly roasted, oil-free, vegetable meal won’t be a big deal, but it does become a bigger deal if this is our usual or regular cooking method. We always have to think of compounding effects over months, years, and lifetime. It is never the “one time” or the “odd time” that is the problem when it comes to any food, cooking method, or substance that we consume, but the habits that we create and carry throughout our lives. And this applies heavily to kids, as we all pick up most of our eating habits for life based on how we were raised.
To help with healthy whole food plant-based cooking, I cover all the practical aspects of this and talk about the different healthy and unhealthy cooking methods in my online video course Cook Real Food. There, I teach you how to cook whole food plant-based meals in quick, easy, and healthy ways, and cover all whole plant food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, as well as mushrooms.
To help with getting kids to eat healthy, I also provide an online video course about this called How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy. But in general, I recommend to focus on homemade plant-based sauces that can be served on top of or along with raw or gently cooked vegetables to make them more appealing to kids. (These are covered in the cooking course too.)
When we are on a conscious health journey it is not just the type of food that we eat that matters, but how we eat that food as well. We can take the healthiest foods and make them work for us or against us. So the more that we take steps to reduce risks and increase benefits, especially in today’s world that presents us with so many health risks, the better.