The Microwave Challenge Finale
I've never been big on using the microwave oven. The skeptic in me has bought into the negative hype and hysteria that surrounds them. It was easy to believe that because of the high, concentrated heat that the molecules in my food, along with the nutrients would be damaged. Therefore ingesting food from the microwave would make it less nutritious and possibly harmful for me (think radiation, etc.). However, there is little to no proof of any of that. In fact, "In one study, microwaved pork and chicken retained significantly more thiamine and vitamin B6 than the same foods cooked in a conventional oven." https://www.thepaleomom.com/are-microwaves-safe-to-use/ And, as Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD's article/research finds that, "For example, research shows that microwave-cooked bacon has lower levels of nitrosamines (a potential carcinogen) than conventionally-cooked bacon. And, in contrast to grilling or frying, microwaving results in much lower (or non-existent) production of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), two well-studied carcinogens that can form in meat or charred foods. (HCAs occur when amino acids, sugars, and creatine from muscle meat react at high temperatures, and PAHs occur when meat drippings hit an open fire and cause PAH-containing flames to shoot upwards and coat the meat, or when other foods get blackened in high heat.) In fact, microwaving meat and draining off the juices before grilling has shown to reduce the formation of carcinogens, compared to grilling the meat directly."
I've done my own research as well, but I do trust Dr. Ballantyne, better known as the Paleo Mom, as she does incredible research.
With this new found knowledge in hand I decided to challenge myself to cook some nutrient dense meals using the microwave. Usually dinners at our house are somewhat lengthy and involved (if not well planned ahead of time, meal prep is so important). It doesn't have to be so complicated, it's just that we enjoy these meals and feel nourished and satisfied after eating them (which is why the left overs are fabulous to have for breakfast). But, eating a nutrient dense diet should have to be complicated, difficult or time consuming. I'd much prefer that my clients "nuked" a nutritious meal than that they ate out or snacked their way through the day. So... the microwave challenge was born.
Last night I decided to try making meatloaf. Honestly, no one in my family is a huge fan of meatloaf, but it is a great way to hide some veggies (if they need hiding). And, I figured that if it worked it could easily be something we prep in ramekins and freeze for a later date. Thankfully, they turned out great. We will most likely be prepping these and freezing them (I'm thinking raw) to pull out on days we know we will be super busy. The trick will be remembering to pull them from the freezer and place them in the fridge before leaving for the day so they can thaw. I won't worry about that now, though.
What I'm really taking away from this challenge is the fact that our meals were still nutrient dense, easy to put together, less mess to clean up (fewer dishes dirtied) and super budget friendly. The only downside was that we often just had enough to eat, which meant fewer left overs and not really enough for anyone to have seconds. Possibly a win for our grown up bodies, but our children need all the nourishment they can get.
The bottom line.... yes, I do definitely see more microwaved meals in our future. How about you? Are you up for the challenge?