Including lots of  raw foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds is an excellent way to optimize your nutrient intake, but that doesn’t mean that you have to exclude anything cooked in order to maintain optimal energy and vibrancy. In fact, including cooked food into your high raw diet is an effective way to stay on track and to keep cravings at bay.

Let’s face it – although raw zucchini noodles with sauce is a tasty meal in itself, it certainly doesn’t “cut the mustard” if you are in the mood for a little real pasta on a chilly day. And doing something as simple as including sautéed onions and garlic in an otherwise raw dish, can go a long way in upping the meal’s flavor factor. Though raw foods can be comforting, sometimes cooked foods bring healing to the body in ways raw foods can’t.

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You will find that there are quite a few fun benefits to look forward to when combining both cooked and raw foods into your every day diet.

Here are three that really stand out:

Experience Improved Satiation

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One of the best things about combining cooked and raw foods at meal time is improved satiation. Raw food is light, healthy, and full of nutrients, but you have to eat a heck of a lot of it to make up a calorie sufficient meal. When time is tight at breakfast or lunch time, it can be easy to miss out on the satiation needed to sustain energy for the day.

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Adding a little cooked food to the mix easily ups the calories and fiber content, which tends to increase satiation too. In other words, adding a handful of black beans to your salad or including some cooked barley in your creamy raw soup will keep you nice and full until your next meal!

Unlock Some Extra Nutrition

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While all fruits and vegetables are a powerhouse of nutrition, you can unlock some extra nutrients in a few foods by cooking them. For example, cooking tomatoes releases more of the lycopene found within them. Lightly cooking vegetables to make a soup, or steaming fresh greens helps to soften the food and increase the amount of nutrients that our bodies can absorb.

But keep in mind that lots of raw, fresh fruits and vegetables is a crucial part of any healthy diet. In fact, salad should be considered the main course of any dishes that you decide to pair it with. But there is always room for a little healthy cooked food right alongside your favorite raw dishes.

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Enjoy Eating Out More Often

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Another good reason to combine cooked and raw foods into your diet regimen is so that you can enjoy eating out with friends and family more often! Sticking with nothing but salad just to stay raw while spending time at a restaurant is not only a recipe for a growling belly by the end of the night, but it can easily create cravings that turn into binges before all is said and done.

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Why not order a baked potato (or two) to go with your salad, or indulge in a vegetable curry dish? There is no reason to miss out on good food and a great time while eating out as long as healthful options are available on the menu. You can easily balance out a night of dining on cooked food with a day of fresh fruits and veggies beforehand.

The key to great health and happy taste buds is to adopt a diet of healthy whole foods that are made up of both cooked and raw dishes. Be sure to get a balance of both!

What’s your favorite cooked foods to eaten in addition to raw foods?

Lead Image Source: Vegan Falafel Waffle

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