Easy to make & chew vegetables?

Sugar-Spazz
Bento-ing from: › ------------ › USA
Joined: 20 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 48 weeks ago.

Hello again everyone. I've another question for all of you, if that's okay. I don't get near enough vegetables- I don't think I get any, in fact, during my average day. But I have braces, and everything I've tried it kind of hard for me to chew. Either it's completely impossible (-should've seen me try to bite into a carrot the other day. You probably would've laughed at me- ) or it's just hard and takes to long (-I cut some zucchini and squash into slices, and I only ate about half of the amount I packed in my school's designated lunch time.-)

So, does anyone have any suggestions? I'd prefer things easy to get, and anything that won't require cooking would be amazing. I'm scared of anything that gets to high temperature, myself. Ehehe.

Tons of thanks!

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Loretta
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Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
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Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

What sort of foods do you currently find easy to eat?

If you quite like zucchini (which we call courgettes in the UK) and want to persevere with this vegetable, I would have thought an ideal way to prepare them would be to:
slice the zucchini lengthwise with a vegetable peeler (or a Dutch style cheese slicer), pop them into a colander/sieve with a sprinkle of salt, leave them for 10 minutes and then add the slices to a pan of boiling water. Boil them for no more than one minute and quickly drain them and give them a rinse with cold water.
This will change your courgettes into lengths of vegetable 'pasta', just dress then with any pasta sauce or salad dressing. They shouldn't catch in your braces and they are easy and quick to eat.

If anyone uses an oven in your house, then perhaps you can try popping an eggplant (aubergine) in with the food being roasted and making Baba ghanoush. (Just google for recipes - basically it's an eggplant spread made with eggplant pulp, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, you can add other spices/seasonings to taste)

Cucumbers: cut them into matchsticks, sprinkle with salt, leave in a sieve for ten minutes, rinse them well with cold water and drain them. Then you can add a little soy sauce, vinegar and a touch of sesame oil for easy Japanese style 'pickles'.

And, of course, there's avocado. If tomato seeds are a problem, you can deseed them and combine with avocado and anything else you like to make a guacamole style dish.

But if you let us know which foods you are comfortable eating, it should help with meaningful suggestions for vegetables.

Sugar-Spazz
Bento-ing from: › ------------ › USA
Joined: 20 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 48 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

Thanks for all the suggestions! I definitely want to try that zucchini one.

The only thing's I've really had any trouble with are vegetables- and it's not a pain issue, just that they're hard, so they take longer to eat than I have at lunch. I have trouble with sushi, or other foods that are a little big to fit into my mouth, but I don't run into many foods like that that I can't just cut up.

Are avocados normally cooked in some way, or can you just cut them up and throw them in a lunch box?

I think tomatoes are fruits, and I believe I read somewhere online that cucumbers are fruits as well, so I'm not sure if I should count those into my daily vegetable intake. =/

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

Yes tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin are ALL fruits! And strawberries are not. But these are all technicalities; the important distinction is not whether plant foods are technically fruits (they contain seeds, and started off as the ovary of the plant) or veges, but whether they're full of sugar or not. Count all non sugary plant things as veges and you'll be OK.

Avocados are normally eaten raw, but they go brown and unappetising quite fast unless you dip them in lemon juice or some other acid after they're cut. It might be easier (or not) to take one whole and cut it at lunchtime, you don't seem too familiar with them so here is how you do it: you cut it in half as much as you can (there's a big stone in the middle you just have to cut around) then hold one half in each hand and twist in opposite directions. The halves separate, with the stone still stuck in one of them; you can pry it out with your knife. Then you just scoop the flesh out with a spoon.

But how about soup? Winter is coming up where you are, so make some cream of vegetable soup and take it in a vacuum flask.

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

Aw... i think i know what kind of braces you have... a friend of mine had to wear it when we were teens. It had little rubber strings that didn't alow her to open her mouth properly. That sucked.

She used to bring her food to school (which is not the normal thing in Spain) and she usually brought peeled tomatoes, cut in very tiny bits. You can easily peel tomatoes by putting them in boiling water for less than a minute, taking them out and letting them cool down. I don't recall her tomatoes to have seeds so just pop them out if you dislike them.

you can use fruit and other veggies as much as you want, they do count for your daily veggie income.

I love Loretta's recipe of "zuccini pasta", btw :) you can roast some zuccini slices in a pan or in the oven with a little olive oil as well, it'll be tasty and tender.

You can also boil broccoli (cut in small florets), this may take a little long but you may have broccoli for 2 or 3 days :)

You can also have... i don't know how they are called... they are sweet and look like a little orange *n_n* we call them "mandarinas" or "clementinas". They don't have seeds and are mostly juice.
You can also try pears, but make sure you choose the ones that have more 'watery' meat. They are soft to the point that they almost melt in your mouth.

good luck! :)

____________________________________

My bento blog: http://justbento.com/blog/1305
My art blog: http://jizaacaso.deviantart.com

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

In English - mandarins or clemantines!

HappyBag
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 27 Sep 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 48 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

Hi there! I'm a newbie on here - what a FAB site!! I think you will have more of the same prob with root vegetables unless they are sliced thinly and cooked as suggested above, the Zucchini is a great idea - I'll be trying that too!
You could also cut it into thin slices - as above, brush it with healthy oil (I always use coconut oil) and griddle it. (You can do the same with courgettes or marrow). Not sure what they call them there but we have Sugar Snap Peas here (a bit like Mange Tout or flattened long green beans) - they are crunchy but exceptionally light to crunch- nothing like a carrot. Mushrooms can be cut into nice manageable sizes and an excellent source of nutrition especially when eaten raw, also Tofu/micro protein have many health benefits and is very manageable. Avocados are lovely, but are a bit of an acquired taste, not many of my friends or family like them! You could also try grating carrot, ginger, celery, broccoli and/or cauliflower into your usual food - that way you get the nutrition but without the hassle - and even if you don't like the flavours, just add a tiny bit so that don't really notice them!
Good idea to do soups - hot or cold, if you have a juicer or a blender - that would be even better to start the day with maybe carrot, celery, apple and ginger drink!
I hope this helps
HappyBag ;)

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

D`oh! thanks! ^^

rehfilet
Bento-ing from: › Germany
Joined: 11 Aug 2009
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Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

hello,
your carrot experience took me back 15 years! apparently, you still don't get told that you'll have to change your eating habits drastically before they glue stuff to your teeth and join that with wires. i remember trying to bite into a carrot, too. i was very embarassed when my mom though it funny.
veggies that seemed to work well were generally smaller or cut up, softer things.
frozen peas, tinned beans and chick peas are easy to find, prepare and eat with braces.

raw veggies are really hard. it's a lot easier if you steam them- that's not really "cooking", just clean and cut them as you would when eating them raw, then put them in a steamer for some minutes. they'll be a lot more manageable.

stuff that has to be cooked, but is still easy to eat are green beans, cauliflower and broccoli and diced sweet potatoes. everybody should eat more sweet potatoes, as they are really, really yummy and good for you, too (the kind i mean is pink skinned and white inside. what's it called? they are lovely, i could marry one.).
hope i could help
rehfilet

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 24 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

The kind of sweet potatoes you are talking about are called kumara here in New Zealand (I think people in other countries just call them sweet potatoes don't they?), and they were a staple in the diet of the Maori before the pakeha arrived. Still are come to think of it.
They're dry inside and are very high in fibre. Less fattening than potatoes believe it or not - even though they do taste very sweet. Those who do not have braces on their teeth should try them made into chips (French fries) with sour cream. Delicious.
They are also good roasted, boiled and mashed, or baked in their skins. Some of them have fibrous bits under the skin which you can easily see - those ones are no good baked, you need to peel them.

rehfilet
Bento-ing from: › Germany
Joined: 11 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 4 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

kumara. i learned a new word, thank you!
yes, around here they are simply called sweet potatoes (süßkartoffeln), together with other potatoe-looking things in all colours. i sometimes have a hard time finding the ones i'm looking for, but if i get them, i cut them in thick chunky rounds which i pre-cook in salted water and then slowly fry in clear butter (and a little extra brown sugar perhaps) until they caramelise. the smell is like baking cookies and the taste is even better.
it's not the healthiest way to prepare them, but it's just so good. goes very well with anything hot and spicy, a side of veggies with tomatoes and bell peppers, for example..
not so sure if this recipe is bento-friendly. better change the butter with a little oil and drain them on some paper towels, i guess..
ah. next week, i am going to hunt the kumara in heidelberg!

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

And probably in a new language. I wouldn't imagine you learn too much New Zealand Maori in Germany.

I make a vegetarian curry from them too - Thai green curry paste, kumara, coconut cream, onions, garlic, ginger etc.

thegirlisnutz
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

Another idea may be to simply try some frozen, cut-up veggies. Every time I nuke (microwave, I mean) a batch, I remember, again, that freezing does something to the fibre in veggies, breaking it down somehow. You wind up with a *much* softer vegetable post-freezing.

I've tried broccoli, fava beans, carrot-cauliflower-water-chestnuts, peas, corn, brussels sprouts, and lots of others. The softer-than-normal seems to apply to all of those, and to frozen fruit, too!

Try it. It may be a quick-and-easy solution. :)

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

I hated my braces, so I know what you mean having to figure out what you can eat without having a huge mess on your hands. Streaming and stir-frying vegetables until they are soft is probably the best way to be able to eat them with braces. Although, unless you have a ton of time to spend brushing your teeth after lunch I would recommend against broccoli and cauliflower (they are horrible to get out of braces especially when they are new, eventually you will be able to aim food directly back at your molars, so until you have some practice it might be wise to avoid them in public).

Also remember to try and avoid staining your teeth while the braces are on, coffee and what not can leave you with little white squares on your teeth. Plus if you have the clear braces you have to be even more careful not to stain the actual braces themselves, I had to give up mustard when I had mine one and as a teenager that was one of my major food groups.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

OMG you are right about the stains and the broccoli!!! o_O

I had to wear braces... well they were not braces. I could actually take that hideous thing out of my mouth to eat and brush my teeth. It was extremely uncomfortable to talk properly, though u_u

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

on the protein side, you can try boiled chickpeas and beans. They are soft and offer lots of variations :)

Also, try olives, grapes and bananas.
I wouldn't recommend strawberries due to their little seeds! they can get inside your braces and hurt like hell.

Anyway try not to rely too much on potatoes. They are nice and tender but if you eat too much they may make you fatten a little bit.

I never tried sweet potatoes and never saw them on the market o_o pics anyone? :D

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

I can confirm that the orange sweet potatoes are "normal" sweet potatoes in North American, even though many call them yams (sometimes they are even labeled as yams in the store).

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

Yes. And they're wet inside, not dry and floury like the pink ones. I will never forget being presented with "candied yams" as a side dish at Thanksgiving dinner at an American friend's house. They were mashed with lots of butter and brown sugar, and then had marshmallows sprinkled on top and grilled. It was sweeter than any dessert; not my cup of tea at all.

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

http://www.kumara.co.nz/

The pink ones at the back of the picture, by "nutritional information" are the traditional kumara the Maori have eaten for centuries. We call all sweet potatoes kumara, but the orange and yellow ones are newcomers. We've only had them available for the last 15 years or so, but I think they are the "normal" sweet potatoes in America.

A little side note: We in New Zealand lost many of the old strains of traditional kumara, but there's a culture collection in Japan where many of them are saved. This place keeps seeds of a huge variety of the things, so New Zealand relies on Japan for heritage kumara!

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
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User offline. Last seen 4 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

What you had was probably made from "canned yams" which are all kinds of disgusting considering how good the real deal is. In the version I make I roast the sweet potatoes (with well washed skins, so they can go in the mash) and mash with some butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg topping with a pecan and oat crumble. I usually go with less then half the butter and sugar called for in most recipes for the holidays and omit them all together when I make it for myself, since they are sweet enough from roasting that further sweetening is not necessary.

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

No no, this was here in New Zealand, where we do not have such things as canned yams. She made it out of orange kumara and did NOT use less than half the butter and sugar called for in the recipe. American food is generally much sweeter than we are used to here in NZ. The only even vaguely sweet things we would have on our main course plates would be kumara, pumpkin, carrots, or apple sauce (no added sugar) or pineapple with pork. Things with sugar added are for dessert, and your candied sweet potatoes sound as though they'd make a very nice one. With cream poured all over to cut the sweetness a bit.
I'll never forget the look on my friend Wil's face when he bit into a piece of cornbread when we were eating at a soul food place in Washington DC. The thought of a "cake", which is what it tastes like to us, with our main course was very foreign. And he was talking about buying a bread machine so he could make sugarless wholemeal bread while he was living there - don't know if he got around to it.

Loretta
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Bento-ing from: London › UK
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Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?
Jiza wrote:

Anyway thanks for the pics, I'll look for those sweet potatoes next time i go to the market! ^^

In Spain sweet potato is called boniato (or moniato in Valencian/Catalan). I used to have it in Alicante years before I ever saw it in England.
Just as you've said, it's most known as a traditional dessert ingredient but I have family who like to bake them in hot embers along with chestnuts.
They are made into pastissos at Christmas (it's also made into bollos, a sweet bread)
recipe here: http://www.comarcarural.com/valencia/recetario/pastisdemoniato.htm
Although only the pastisset with the orange filling is made with boniato, I assume the others are stuffed with cabello de ángel - the sweetened flesh of a kind of pumpkin that looks like a huge zucchini.

I've only seen the orange fleshed kind in Spain, and this is the kind most commonly sold in England. I'm afraid I'm not much of a fan.

However, if you go to the Caribbean stores, you can find varieties with white and pale flesh. It's firmer and, in my opinion, tastes much, much better. I really like the white fleshed sweet potatoes.

Best I've had though were purple skinned satsumaimo freshly dug from an aunt's allotment. She had a special kitchen implement that allowed her to roast the sweet potatoes on the top of a cooking range. Absolutely delicious! But very sweet. The idea of a yakimo man (kind of like a mobile ice cream vendor, but with hot embers instead of a freezer) didn't make sense to me until I tried them, only then did I understand how children and those with a sweet tooth could get excited when they heard his cry.

-

Another vegetable option (although they are technically herbs) are plantain or green bananas. (Green bananas, and sometimes plantains, are very difficult to peel though, a suggestion given on the TV by Levi Roots was to put the unpeeled bananas into a bowl and pour over boiling water, then leave them for 20 minutes. Then the skins should come off easily - you can use a knife for this).
Plantains and green bananas can be boiled, baked or fried.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

hum, we do not have sugary food in spain, only in desserts (which are VERY sweet!). The sweetest thing i have ever eaten (considering only 'western' food) is the apple sauce my mother cooks for her meat pudding. And that's not a typical spanish dish, so... ;)

Anyway thanks for the pics, I'll look for those sweet potatoes next time i go to the market! ^^

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

I agree that a lot of American food can be overly sweet, but I tend to stray from tradition for the health of those around me and just plain preference.

I know cornbread can be quite sweet the way most people make it, sort of like this: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/down-home-with-the-neelys/honey-cornb... which most people top with more butter and honey. But there are also cheese, jalapeno, and other savory varieties that I find more interesting and are quite easy to make without a bread machine.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

ooookaay. Boniatos. now i know what it is!!!
Never tried them. My mum is not a fan of them u_u

Mrs_A
Bento-ing from: Indianapolis › Indiana › USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 35 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

Storing your carrots completely submerged in water will make them softer and easier to eat.

Pat
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

I just got my braces off 2 weeks ago. I feel your pain on the limited food options. I'd always pack lunch to work so that I have enough time to brush my teeth after I eat. My go-to veggies were boiled-until-soft carrots & broccoli, canned corn, steamed spinach & napa cabbage, and stir-fried eggplant. Sorry but you need to cook them so they'll be soft.
My other suggestions are: drink tea and coffee with a straw, avoid curry and mustard, always have toothbrush and mouthwash/toothpaste with you and always brush after you eat, floss every night.
I had the clear brackets and the adhesive around them are the stain magnet. Yes, I actually did everything I suggested above, and no I was not left with white squares after the braces were removed. I'm eating curry like crazy now. Hang in there, the result will be worth it!

Yllsa
Bento-ing from: Binghamton › New York › USA
Joined: 4 Oct 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 19 weeks ago.
Re: Easy to make & chew vegetables?

Great thread! My boyfriend just got braces (he's 28) so I'm going to need to think about this too!

I would recommend edamame, lima beans, green beans. These all taste great lightly steamed (you can make them in the microwave!) and they are very soft when cooked. I add some almond slices to my green beans.

Other great soft veggies are bell peppers, and they come in lots of pretty colors! Roast or boiled potatoes are yummy when it is cold out!

hana.yori.dango

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