Many homes have a microwave oven and the convenience they provide is evident. But regardless of the wide spread use of microwave ovens, there is still a negative stigma that comes with cooking in them. Is it healthy? Does it zap away the nutrients in my food?
Microwaves work by using waves of energy. According to Harvard Health Publishing, these waves are selective, and primarily affect water molecules. The energy waves cause the water molecules in food to vibrate. This vibration rapidly builds up heat energy that cooks the food. Therefore, foods with high water content can be cooked more quickly than other foods. This explains the popularity of steam cooking food in the microwave, such as vegetables, as many vegetables naturally have a high-water content.
So back to the question on whether microwave cooking is healthy or if it zaps away the nutrients in food. The heat energy the microwave produces is absorbed by food, and does not make food “radioactive” or “contaminated.” And the truth is, no matter what form of cooking you use, whether it be using a conventional oven, broiling, frying or microwaving, some nutrients will break down when exposed to heat. The cooking method that best retains nutrients is one that cooks quickly, heats food for the shortest amount of time, and uses as little liquid as possible. The good news is, microwaving meets all of those!
Things to keep in mind when using the microwave
- If plastic containers are a concern for you, transfer the food to glass or ceramic containers that are labeled microwave safe.
- If using plastic container, make sure it is labeled as microwave safe.
- Keep in mind that most takeout containers are not microwave-safe.
- Avoid plastics and containers that are old, visibly damaged, stained or have a bad smell.
- If using cover/lid, be sure loosen or vent to let steam escape.
- Stir or rotate food halfway through cooking time, or as needed, to avoid cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive, and for more even cooking.
- Use a food thermometer to verify the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
From eggs to oats, with a microwave, you can do the most!
Many people cook their oatmeal in the microwave and their eggs on the stove. But what many people don’t know is that you can use the microwave to cook your eggs! Cooking them on the stove is easy, but our little friend the microwave makes it even easier.
Maybe your mornings are chaotic, and you don’t have time to cook the old-fashioned way. Maybe you want to make breakfast in your office break room, but there’s only a microwave. Or maybe you want to make it easier for your kids to feed themselves. You can cook your eggs any way.
Eggs are a nutritious, protein packed food that can satisfy your hunger. From poached, scrambled, omelet, or even quiche. Save yourself some time and hassle, and learn to cook your eggs in the microwave!
Two-Minute Scrambled Eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons shredded cheese
1/4 teaspoon oregano
- Coat a 12-ounce microwave safe coffee mug or other dish with cooking spray
- Add eggs, milk and oregano—beat until blended
- Microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds; stir
- Microwave for another 30-45 seconds until eggs are almost set *Cook egg dishes to 160 °F*
- Top with cheese and season with salt and pepper