There have been some concerns regarding nutrient loss in pre cut vegetables especially for my veggie box featured in the Tips&Tricks section of my meal prep. Don’t worry, that was my first question as well when I first started mealprepping! Very happy that people are asking such questions because it shows that everyone is very concerned about getting maximum nutrition! 🙂
I’ve updated the FAQ section but I’ll post it up here as well for your convenience! 🙂
Question: If you cut your vegetables before hand, wouldn’t most of the nutrients be gone?
According to the US Food and Drug Administration on food safety, cutting vegetables and storing them in airtight containers in the refrigerator does not make them lose much of their nutrients. Vegetables can be cut and stored raw for easy meal prepping up to a period of 4-5 days. Even after 5 days, the nutrient loss is less than 10%. After this time, they will start to go bad anyway before all their nutrition is gone. I store all my vegetables RAW so I don’t know about cooked but I do feel that the moisture in cooked vegetables encourages bacterial growth and also makes vegetables soggy and taste disgusting. Never ever store wet leaves in the fridge. (I’m telling you from painful horrified experience haha) I pre cut harder veggies like zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers and broccoli. I find it much better to break the broccoli into smaller florets, pre-proportion it out and cook it in the morning fresh. When blanching vegetables, water soluble vitamins like B and C do leech into the water but it’s not a cause of concern because you do have many other sources of vitamin C and B in your modern day diet. (e.g having an orange or eating some meat will meet all your B&C vitamin requirements) If you notice prepacked salads in the supermarket, they are also cut and prewashed and packed raw for easy consumption so don’t worry too much about nutrient loss 🙂 Even if 50% of the veg nutrients are lost, that is 50% more nutrients you are eating from your cheaply homecooked, easy prepped meal than whatever you can find in a public area. 🙂
As for fruits, they lose their nutrients MUCH faster. An easy way to tell is when they start bruising or changing colour. Like vegetables, the smaller you cut them, the faster they lose nutrients that’s why juices have to be drunk fresh. From experience, I can’t store precut apples in the fridge but grapes, pre cut melons, watermelons, honeydew, mango can all be cut and stored for a easy handy snack.
There is also a really interesting article here on how storing your fruits and veg in proper conditions can actually make it release more anti cancer antioxidants and the like based on its circadian rhythms. I’ll make some time to read it this weekend 🙂
Question: Doesn’t reheating your soup/food make it lose it’s nutrients?
Nutrients are lost directly from the food itself once it’s cooked. All food cooked would definitely lose nutrients that’s why most people recommend eating plants raw. However, I can’t do it. I really hate the taste of raw veg. :/ So for me, having 60% nutrients is better than none at all because I simply wouldn’t eat just raw veg everyday. I also don’t think reheating it makes it lose anymore nutrients than it already did. (Can anybody specializing in this tell me more?) After that, it simply changes in structure and breakdowns from more reheating or decay. I especially like making chinese soups because I’ve been brought up to believe that all the goodness is boiled and reboiled and boiled again and leeches into the water which I drink up. In fact, chinese soups are my favourite because the longer you boil them the tastier they get. On monday when I taste it, it’s often just good but by wednesday, (my soups normally don’t last more than 2-3 days 🙁 ) the soup is thick and delicious and you can really taste the subtle sweetness of goji berries etc. I don’t eat the meat that is used to boil the soup coz it gets hard and tough after. Haha. Anyway, I figured that if the nutrients leech into the water- I’m still getting it in anyway by drinking the water? Haha.
**I’m really interested in what you think about this subject. Leave me a comment on how you feel or any knowledge you can share and we can all benefit from it! I’m still new at healthy eating and while it has worked for me so far, I’m definitely open to learning more and eating better! 🙂 My main thoughts on this subject is that even if I’m losing a dearth of nutrition from my pre cut veggies (which I now know I’m not) I’m definitely taking in 500% more than I used to last time by choosing fish soup everyday. Come to think of it, the yong tau foo stall’s veg are pre cut too right? haha