Grass Roots Nutrition: Steamed Veggies

Grass Roots Nutrition: Steamed Veggies

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Dear Holly: I notice when I steam vegetables, the water is colored. Does that mean I’m losing all of the nutrients? -Steamed Up

Dear Steamed Up:
It depends on which nutrient you are referring to. Steaming, or any kind of cooking can lower some nutrients, but it can also make other nutrients more available for absorption. For example, in a tomato, the raw version is going to have more vitamin C. Cooking will destroy some vitamin C, but it will also make beta carotene more available for absorption.


Steaming is pretty minimal in terms of processing. You would lose more nutrients if you boiled veggies for a LONG time and then threw out that water. I do like soup for reasons of flavor and nutrient preservation – any nutrients that came out of the food remains in the broth!


However, keep in mind that even though steamed veggies may have somewhat lower nutrients, they are still a very healthy food. Steaming doesn’t turn them into a black hole of nutrient deficiency.


I am a huge fan of plain frozen produce, especially in the winter. Produce headed for the freezer is picked at the peak of ripeness and nutrition, blanched and then packaged. Very little nutrition is lost.


In contrast, our “fresh” produce may have been picked prior to peak ripeness, shipped around the world, lounged at the grocery store and chilled in your fridge prior to consumption. Frozen produce can be as good or better than fresh.


So what’s best? Planning each meal and snack to include fruits and vegetables, and preparing them a variety of ways, including both raw and cooked, dried, frozen and canned.


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What’s your question for Holly? Send them to For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!