Two Microwave Steam Bags--Which is Better?
By: Lauren Keith

Steaming veggies in the microwave certainly isn't a new idea, but there are two brand new steaming bags on store shelves right now.  I'll check both out.  We'll do the cooking with Southeast Hospital Dietitian Raina Childers.
"A lot of us already have in our kitchen the things needed to do this.  I use a small glass bowl with water and plastic wrap.  Three minutes later in the microwave, and it's ready to go," Raina points out.
However, she admits these products look effortless which is probably the biggest advantage. First, we have the Ziploc Zip 'n' Steam bags versus Glad's Simply Cooking bags.  They're about equal in price, but will they cook the same?
"Six minutes!" says Raina as she pops the Ziploc bag into the microwave.
Raina and I really like the cooking times that are easy to follow right on the edge of this bag.  The Ziploc brand holds four servings of veggies inside which is nice when cooking for a family.
While we wait for the results, I ask Raina if it's even a good idea to cook vegetables in plastic bags like this?
"There hasn't been enough research to show that's it's not good.  Some people worry about a transfer of chemicals from plastic to the food, but we're talking about such a quick cooking time, I really don't think consumers need to worry about that too much," she says.
Ding! The microwave beeps and it's time to see what's cooking.  Be careful--the bag really is hot.
"Mmm, that's good," I say after biting into the broccoli, carrots and cauliflour medley.
In just six mintues, the Ziploc Zip 'n' Steam bags did provide healthy meals in minutes, as promised.  Now, it's time to look at the competitor.
"No water needed," reads Raina.
Neither steam bag requires anything but the vegetables to put inside.  However, we notice a difference in preparation.  The Ziploc bags require you to spread the veggies out flat in the microwave.  Glad's Simply Cooking bags instruct you to stand the bag upright in the microwave. Keep that in mind if you have a small microwave.
Also, we can't fit as many vegetables into the Glad bag as we could with the Ziploc version, but if you're only cooking for one or two that shouldn't be a problem.
THe smaller Glad bag only takes five minutes to cook.  Once it's done, my fork glides right through these veggies, too.  Raina says both bags completely steamed the veggies.  I think we cooked up some winners here...So, is one better than the other?
"I think they're so comparable, there's not a huge difference in price and the results were the same," says Raina.
Yeah, it might come down to what would work in your microwave and how many people you're cooking for.  Again, the Ziploc bags held more vegetables. 
"I give them both an 'A'," says Raina.
"Why not an A plus?" I ask her.
"I don't know that we need them and it makes for more plastic waste in the trash can.  But each product lived up to its promise for sure and they're so simple to use.  If that's what it takes to get people to eat their vegetables, then I'm all for them!" she says.
In the meantime, both products serve up A's on this Does it Work Wednesday test.  The boxes I bought at Wal-Mart range in price from $2.64 to $2.75.