General Diet Plans and Questions - Steamed Vegetables: Good or Bad Idea?

08-17-2013, 11:19 PM
Simple enough question, I'm an awful cook and there are very few vegetables that I can stand the taste of raw (eat plenty of fruits though). That said, I know how healthy they are and how essential they are to weight loss. So I guess what I'm asking is would steamed vegetables be enough of a compromise. Usually I just get a mixed bag so carrots, corn, peas, and green beans. I can eat quite a bit of the mix and the calories stay really low. And I know that the nutritional benefit is dropping quite a bit by consuming them this way, but I figure some is better than none right? I keep an eye on my sodium too so that is factored in as well. The only raw veggie I really like is carrots, but I doubt I can just eat those and say I've met my veggie requirements right? Suggestions perhaps? Thanks in advance. :carrot:

08-18-2013, 12:06 AM

I think steamed veggies are great and the combo you mention sounds quite healthy to me. If possible maybe you could drink a tomato juice or v8 to round out the selection.


08-18-2013, 01:20 AM
While cooking destroys some nutrients, it also boosts others, for example lycopine is easier to absorb from cooked tomatoes than from raw.

So rather than trying to only eat raw, try to eat a wide array of different colored freggies prepared in a variety of ways. Steaming or simmering veggies in broth will usually preserve more nutrients than boiling (unless you're going to drink the cooking liquid). Even sauteeing or stirfrying is a good choice. For flavor, roasting can't be beat.

Some nutrients are lost, but others are gained (such as iron if vegetables are cooked in cast iron cookware).

Veggies also begin to lose nutrients after they are picked. Fresh or frozen cooked vegetables can often have more nutrients than the same types of veggies raw, if they've been sitting in the crisper or in the grocery store a while.

So cook veggies if and any way you want to. Even eating a wide variety of cooked-to-mush veggies is going to provide more nutrients than eating only a few raw veggies. Variety is probably more important than cooking method in most cases.

08-20-2013, 08:50 AM
Anyone can cook. And vegetables can be quite delicious when prepared properly. Work with what you like, but also think about variations and seasonality. Right now for example is a wonderful time for tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, and fruits like berries and melons. Fig season is about to begin!

Open a frozen bag, toss the veggies in a pot and steam them..... it's good but if that's all you know about veggies then I'd be bored as heck too! Steamed veggies have their place but there is so much you can do with veggies!

Cut up some zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, some garlic and a potato into chunks. Put in a roasting pan and toss with some olive oil, and dried herbs like oregano or thyme or rosemary (fresh is better if you got, but dried is good too). Cover with foil and put in a 400F oven for about 45-60min. Uncover and continue cooking until golden on top. Serve with grilled chicken or fish.

Roasted cauliflower - cut the cauliflower into chunks, sprinkle with cumin, corriander, and cayenne pepper and toss with olive oil. Roast the same way as above dish.

Asparagus - toss the spears with 1/4 tsp olive oil and toss in the oven for 15min.

Get a bunch of tomatoes. Throw them in the oven for an hour along with some galric and then puree them. You've got a great sauce or soup.

Frozen spinach - toss a handful of it into a frying pan with some olive oil, a few chili flakes and when it's wilted throw in 2 eggs for scramble. A couple of chunks of feta cheese and you've got a banging spinach omelet.

Take carrots and clean them, leave them whole. Put them into boiling water for 5 minutes. Then place them in a roasting pan along with olive oil and cumin and corriander and the juice of one orange. Roast until golden, then serve with slices of avocado, and sunflower seeds.

Cole slaw, need I say more??!!

09-09-2013, 12:41 AM
Glad to hear responses similar to what I thought initially. I know they will never be the best, but I figure some are better than none. I just don't have the time nor skill to cook anything fancy, but I guess I'll have to learn eventually (maybe when I graduate and actually have time). Thanks!

09-09-2013, 10:54 AM
Steamed veg are awesome! I also like to grill mine ... with minimal oil of course. The more veg you can eat the better, as long as it's prepared with minimal added calories.

As your diet progresses you might come to find you like raw veg more and more. I know I used to think raw bell pepper was a weird idea, and now it's one of my favorite snacks.

09-13-2013, 01:32 AM
With steaming, you can retain the nutrient content in your food. You can steam most vegetables, but cooking time may vary for various items. Green vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, green beans, and peas are good for steaming.

09-13-2013, 01:53 AM
Glad to hear responses similar to what I thought initially. I know they will never be the best

Again, not necessarily so. Some nutrients are lost, but not as much as you may think, and some nutrients become more available with cooking.

Cooking tends to reduce the volume of vegetables, so it's easier to eat more cooked than raw which can be an advantage if you have trouble getting in enough servings. Steamed spinach takes up a lot less room, than raw spinach for example, but is still very low calorie. This means you may actually get more nutrients in cooked veggies even those nutrients that are diminished with cooking because you can eat more. (for only a few more calories).

It's hard to get a lot of nutrition from a salad of greens, but a gallon of greens can cook down to less than a cup. By volume, the steamed greens are actually more nutritious than raw.

09-13-2013, 07:48 AM
It's hard to get a lot of nutrition from a salad of greens, but a gallon of greens can cook down to less than a cup. By volume, the steamed greens are actually more nutritious than raw.[/QUOTE]

Both are equally as important. Certain veggies like carrots and tomatoes need to be cooked in order for the nutrient content to really have an impact. Other veggies like peas for example are much easier to handle in texture if they are lightly steamed than raw. Broccoli is nearly impossible for me to get through unless it is steamed considerably through.

You can lose weight without eating a lot of vegetables as long as you create a calorie deficit. But let's be honest about what being healthy means, you can't be a healthy person unless you really take in a good amount of nutrients from vegetables. They are full of antioxidants which help fight disease, they provide fiber and hydration, and they help give you radiant skin. Sometimes I can just look at a person and immediately know that they don't like their vegetables. They look sallow, and the opposite of vibrant. Kind of like what people look like when they never brush their teeth, if you don't take care of them it shows and eventually you might lose them.

I've started thinking about vegetables a lot more than I used to when I was only focused on losing weight. Diets can make us feel like we're missing out on something but eating a lot of vegetables has helped me in many ways and it definitely helps me to know that by eating veggies I'm helping repair my body and my organs. I include veggies in every single meal, and I try to eat a fruit every day. I'm even starting to like tomatoes which I never have before.

09-13-2013, 09:25 AM
When we were starting to really try and incorporate more fruits and veggies, we used steamer frozen veggies and bagged salads, as time went on we do more fresh and roasted veggies, buy romaine or iceberg lettuce and make salads whatever helps you get more veggies in. I have a bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer to throw in my oatmeal, frozen strawberries are good, too.

We sometimes juice, carrots and apples make great juice. if you have a blender baby spinach in a smoothie with a banana and some peanut butter is great the baby spinach is very mild and basically disappears with the banana and peanut butter, I use vanilla almond milk, some people use yogurt.

Also, some convenience type things are available in stores, apples already cut up and in little bags, carrots cut like crinkle cut potato chips.

Best of luck and keep thinking, more :sunny:

09-13-2013, 09:36 AM
Another option to get veggies in would to be try a green/veg smoothie with fruit(s) of your choice and a handful of spinach and/or carrots. Sometimes I add applesauce if it isn't sweet enough for me.

My fave combos are strawberry, banana and carrots along with some yogurt and enough water to be able to blend to my preferred consistency The second one is blueberry, banana and spinach with yogurt and water/applesauce, depending on how sweet/ripe the banana is.

09-13-2013, 12:50 PM
It really does depend on the veggie, but it isn't like the moment you cook them they're nutritionally worthless.

You could also look into bulking up casseroles and meat dishes with pulverized veggies. A lot of moms do this to "hide" veggies from their kids.

09-13-2013, 01:27 PM
Frozen veggies are healthy, but like others said, you'd probably want to expand your veggie palate - it can be a little boring to just stick with the same mixed veggies everyday!

Like wannabeskinny said, it's not hard to find very simple techniques to try other veggies. I love most of my veggies roasted in olive oil, fresh cracked salt and pepper, but I also cook them in any and every way. I use fresh vegetables or frozen - whatever fits for the dish.

I also don't relegate veggies to the side. They can be cooked right into most dishes that you're probably already eating, and you would never know the difference.