Microwave Cooking: Tips & Recipes (cont.)
Plastic Wrap Concerns
What about cooking foods in or under plastic wrap - is it safe?
"There's no question that chemicals in plastic can migrate from the wrap into the food it comes in contact with," editors with the Environmental Nutrition newsletter wrote in a recent article. "More debatable is what effect these chemicals have on your health."
It seems that one particular resin that helps make the wrap stretchy and clingy -- polyvinyl chloride (PVC) -- contains the plasticizers (DEHA diethylhexyladipate) that may be linked to hormonal abnormalities in animals. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, maintains that the amount of plasticizer that may migrate into food is safe.
An article in the FDA Consumer magazine asserts that DEHA exposure may occur when eating certain foods that have been wrapped in plastics -- especially fatty foods such as meat and cheese -- but that the exposure levels are very low.
"The levels of the plasticizer that might be consumed as a result of plastic film use are well below the levels showing no toxic effect in animal studies," the article says.
In its April 2004 issue, Environmental Nutrition named two wraps that do not contain the plasticizers: Glad Cling Wrap and Saran Cling Plus Clear.
But no matter what plastic wrap you buy, it makes sense to avoid using it in the microwave because other options are easily available. Cover your food with a sheet of wax paper or microwave-safe paper towels, or use a hard plastic cover made especially for the microwave (these sell for a few dollars at kitchen stores).
3 Microwave Recipes
Here's a side dish perfect for summer, an easy vegetarian entree, and a dynamite dessert.
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Members: Journal as 1/2 cup vegetables without added fat + 1/2 cup starchy foods and legumes without added fat.
2 cups corn (frozen or cut off the cob)
Yield: 6 servings
Per serving: 176 calories, 13 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, .8 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5.3 g fiber, 23 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 30%.
Barley Eggplant Bake
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Members: Journal as 1 1/2 cups "hearty stew, chili, bean soup" OR 1 portion "light frozen pasta or rice dish with meat or fish or vegetarian with light sauce" + 1 ounce low-fat cheese.
The trick here is cooking the barley ahead of time so that all you have to do is assemble the dish and pop in the microwave.
3 cups cooked pearl barley (cook in chicken broth for color and flavor)
Yield: 3 servings
Per serving: 341 calories, 13 g protein, 52 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat, 3.8 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 10 g fiber, 157 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 26%.
Fruit and Cream Crisp
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Members: Journal as 1 portion medium dessert + 1 portion fresh fruit.
2 tablespoons light cream cheese
Yield: 1 serving
Per serving (with sugar): 290 calories, 7 g protein, 49 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 186 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25 g.
Please see our entire collection of healthy recipes.
Recipes provided by Elaine Magee; © 2006 Elaine Magee
Published June 02, 2006.
SOURCES: The Food Lover's Companion, 2nd edition, 1995, by Sharon Tyler Herbst. Environmental Nutrition, April 2004. FDA Consumer magazine, Nov-Dec 2002. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, November 2003: Volume 83, Issue 14, 1511-1516. Timothy H. Cole, executive vice president, Belvoir Media Group. Janet McDonald, public affairs specialist, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, San Francisco District Office.
©2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.