Fresh or frozen? If someone asked you if you would prefer to eat fresh or frozen food, what would you say? Most people are under the assumption that frozen food does not compare to its fresh counterpart, but that is far from the truth. Although fresh foods can be more delicious, there are many benefits to consuming foods that are frozen.
Nutritional Benefits of Frozen Food
By the time the produce is eaten, fresh and frozen vegetables may have few differences in nutritional value. This depends on the handling and processing methods used after harvest. For example, foods that are rich in water-soluble vitamin C (think strawberries, mango and broccoli) lose some of the vitamin C if boiled. If a food is boiled for a long period of time before being frozen, then it will contain less vitamin C if frozen. But if a whole food is flash-frozen you can rest assured that it has near identical amounts of all the essential vitamins and minerals in fresh food.
When foods are not in season, it can be healthier to buy them frozen. If a food is shipped and packaged from across the world, fruits and vegetables lose some of their nutritional qualities. Just be sure to look for organic frozen fruits and vegetables without any added sugar, salt or preservatives for maximum nutrition!
Seasonal Foods: Better Frozen?
When grocery shopping have you ever noticed that local or seasonal foods are extremely inexpensive and stocked in abundance? This is your cue to buy in bulk then freeze! Not only will this save you money, but it will also make your frozen foods taste more authentic and delicious. Throw frozen fruit from the summer into a winter smoothie and taste the difference of once-seasonal fruit versus imported fruit that may have no flavor at all?
Convenience of Frozen Foods
If flavor and saving money didn’t catch your attention, then convenience will. Try freezing your favorite dishes, such as soup and cook it on the stove on a day where you don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen. The convenience of storing or buying frozen foods (especially whole vegetables and fruit) is truly the easiest way to get in all your recommended servings of fruits and vegetables in per day. No excuses! Texture-wise, frozen foods are best used in smoothies, stir-fries and soups!
Perhaps you already store frozen foods in your freezer and are looking for a healthy frozen meal at the store? There are a few things to take into consideration: frozen store-bought meals are usually packed with sodium, artificial flavor and color, and can be very high in calories. Why not make your own version? Boil quinoa or brown rice with frozen vegetables and top with your favorite herbs, spices, nuts and seeds!
Eating healthy does not have to be expensive or time consuming. Using both fresh and frozen foods is a great step towards eating healthy and staying on track all year round!