You know how when we were kids, our mothers would run after us, trying to get us to finish our food. I am not sure about you all, but I was that kid who always left veggies on her plate. Not only this, I was a picky eater to an extent that I would carefully handpick each morsel of vegetable from anything my mother served me. This didn’t change even if she served me pizza!
But as we start getting older, we start realizing the importance of vegetables in our lives. They provide us with many nutritions that are not only good for our health but also our appearance. A perfect example of killing two birds with one stone!
They improve our skin, help our sight, keep our blood pressure in check, reduce the risk of heart attack, and so forth. Federal guidelines recommend adults have two to three cups of vegetables daily for a healthy eating pattern! Side note: this got me concerned for my health.
I started following a meal plan with proper servings of vegetables, but soon found out it isn’t as easy as I imagined. After arriving late for work twice, a colleague recommended steaming veggies in the microwave. The idea sounded genius, but I was still a little skeptical. After some research, this is what I found on whether microwaving vegetables is healthy or not.
Are Microwaved Steamed Vegetables Good For You?
In any form, vegetables are always a great addition to your diet. You steam vegetables by cooking them in the steam released from boiling water. The vegetables become nice and tender through this process, while all the nutrients are also conserved!
Steaming vegetables is a good option for the following reasons:
- Sustains the color and flavor
- Minimizes nutrient loss
- Uses no oil or fats
- Enhances texture
- Conserves fibers, vitamins, and minerals
Through steaming, you can preserve 89% of the flavonoids and 81% of the vitamin C present in vegetables. If you boil them, you can lose around 66% of the flavonoids. Steaming softens the fibers and makes them digestible. It helps absorb more nutrients that would benefit our body.
How To Steam Vegetables In The Microwave?
Steaming veggies isn’t as complicated as you first might have imagined. It is quite a simple process and anyone can learn it. Yes, even you! So do not intimidate yourself by its complexity.
Start by cutting your vegetables into small portions. Then add them to a microwave-safe container. Add around an inch of water into the container, close the lid and place it in the microwave. 3 to 4 minutes is the recommended time for the steaming process. But if you prefer crispier veggies then lessen the time.
Tips For Microwaving
- Stir: Stirring your veggies ensures even steaming and lack of contamination.
- Water: Using a lesser amount of water is the way to go when steaming vegetables in the microwave. It ensures that the water absorbs no nutrients.
- Time: Steam the vegetables for an appropriate time, making sure you don’t over or undercook them.
- Use a steam guide: Ensure that you consult a steam guide. Follow proper guidelines for the specific vegetable you are going to steam.
Is It Healthy To Steam Vegetables In The Microwave?
Microwaving is a quick and convenient way to prepare steamed vegetables. But, we often find ourselves wondering whether it is safe or not. Well then, here is the answer for you: microwaving vegetables is a safe process. It does little to no harm to the nutritional aspects of the vegetables.
Most of us assume that microwaving harms the beneficial components of vegetables. But this loss is almost negligible. Microwave steaming creates Lycopene and other valuable nutrients that our body treasures! Compared to microwave steaming, other ways of steaming leech more nutrients.
Contrary to our beliefs, microwaving doesn’t harm the food more than any other form of cooking. Instead, it preserves nutrients and reduces their loss. It also preserves the texture, taste, and flavor of the veggies.
Most importantly, it saves valuable time in our busy routines. It also reduces the chances of overcooking or undercooking. Additionally, microwaving minimizes the loss of vitamin C and other nutrients.
Do Microwaved Vegetables Lose Nutrition?
Microwaving is a process that reduces the loss of nutrients in food. Water-soluble nutrients like vitamin B and C are at risk of a breakdown. Fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K are preserved.
According to experts, microwaving saves more nutrients in veggies compared to other processes. Boiling veggies save 66% of the nutrients present in them. Comparatively, steaming in the microwave retains 79% of these nutrients.
How can you reduce this loss?
You can reduce this loss of nutrients by using smaller amounts of water. Measure the water in tablespoons and add only a little at the start. Add more if you think there is not enough steam.
Two to three tablespoons are perfect for smaller pieces of vegetables. If you have larger pieces, then you can add more water.
Stirring the vegetables is also helpful as it ensures the vegetables cook evenly. This reduces the amount of time the vegetables spend in the microwave. Hence it minimizes the loss of nutrients and the risk of burning.
Benefits Of Microwaving Steamed Vegetables
There is an endless list of the benefits of steaming vegetables in the microwave if we go into depth. Steam vegetables like broccoli and cauliflowers to conserve their nutrients. Cut root vegetables, like potatoes or carrots, into smaller pieces before steaming. This reduces their time spent in the microwave.
Some of the benefits of steaming veggies in the microwave include:
- Heat molecules cook the vegetables, so less water gets used. The overall vitamin loss reduces.
- It uses shorter time intervals. So it is more convenient for those on a tight schedule or a challenging job.
- It sustains heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamins B and C.
- It minimizes nutrient loss compared to other methods.
- The flavor gets preserved as the temperature is lesser than the boiling temperature.
- Breaks down certain materials to help improve the digestibility of the vegetables.
Is It Better To Steam Or Microwave Vegetables?
Steaming or microwaving is a great and healthy option for cooking your vegetables. The vegetable remains healthy, flavorful, and beautiful. Using less water helps preserve the water-soluble nutrients (vitamin C and B). This increases the health benefits of your meal.
While steaming in a microwave, you don’t put the vegetable in boiling water. It is a gentler process where you can use a very minimal amount of water that doesn’t harm it as much as other processes. The vegetable gets cooked evenly. In some vegetables, antioxidants and beta carotene also get lost, during the process. But phytonutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients get saved in this process.
Are There Any Risks?
Steaming veggies in the microwave have the same risks as heating any other food the same way. We’re all aware of these risks before purchasing a microwave.
Through the radioactive rays, the food is at risk of turning radioactive. If you use any non-microwave-safe plastic container, it can release harmful substances. Since steaming saves time, you should ensure to use a microwave-safe container.
In this busy world, we are all trying our best to find shortcuts for the different things we do in our day. Be it exercising, working, or even our diets and eating habits. When we don’t find shortcuts for these activities, most of the time we start to back off. This same very thing is what I experienced when trying to integrate more vegetables into my diet.
Learning that I could steam your vegetables in the microwave in minutes was a revelation. Especially when I compared it to the amount of time I was spending doing the same before. Not only is it efficient, but it also retains all the precious nutrients. Now I can ensure that I am consuming healthy veggies at any time of the day while also being punctual at work!