The debate between frozen vegetables vs fresh (or frozen produce overall) has long been a hot topic. Many of us have heard the message that fresh is always better, and we might have been led to believe frozen produce is less potent when it comes to nutritional value. I know I was definitely in this camp for a long time.
However, is this really true? Or, is it just one of those things we have been convinced of due to clever food marketing that “fresh is best?” Over the years at The Dinner Daily, we have spent a lot of time researching this issue, testing frozen vs fresh in our recipes, and consulting with dietitians.
And you know what? You might be surprised to know there are many instances when frozen is actually the better choice. And considering frozen produce is often less costly than fresh, it is worth considering.
Outlined below are 5 myths and truths about frozen vs fresh:
🥬 Myth: Frozen Veggies are Less Healthy
Contrary to popular belief, frozen vegetables and fruits are often just as, if not more, nutritious than their fresh counterparts. Freezing produce at its peak ripeness preserves nutrients, ensuring you get the maximum nutritional value.
In contrast, fresh produce is typically picked before it reaches its peak to account for transportation time. By the time you select that fresh produce in the store, it may have been sitting for a number of days and losing some of its potency as a result.
🌿Myth: Frozen Foods have Preservatives or Additives
In reality, most frozen foods undergo a simple cleaning process using boiling water without the need for additional preservatives. While it’s still important to check product labels for any added ingredients, most frozen vegetable and fruit products are free from harmful additives.
🌱Myth: Frozen Foods Don’t Fit into an Organic Diet
This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many organic options for frozen fruits and vegetables, even from well-known mainstream brands. Over the last five years, the availability of organic produce has really expanded.
Opting for these pesticide-free alternatives not only aligns with an organic lifestyle but also potentially offers even more nutritional value.
Now, here are a few truths:
💰Truth: Frozen is Almost Always Less Costly than Fresh
One of the undeniable advantages of frozen produce is its affordability. With many stores offering frozen produce at incredibly reasonable prices, often as low as a few dollars per bag during weekly sales, incorporating them into your meal plans and recipes can significantly reduce your overall grocery bill.
♻️Less Waste, More Convenience
The convenience factor of frozen produce is huge. Ready to use or cook straight out of the freezer, they save valuable time on washing and prep.
Additionally, their long shelf life allows you to use only what you need and store the rest for later use, minimizing food waste compared to their fresh counterparts.
- Use frozen berries in smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt.
- Pe-chopped frozen veggies are great options for stir-fry meals. This also saves time.
- If a casserole calls for chopped veggies, try using the frozen counterpart instead. Although you might notice a slight difference in texture, we think the difference is minimal (and the cost savings can be significant.
- Focus on using fresh when it comes to a simple steamed veggie or when not cooking the veggie. Experiment with different veggies and brands so you find the ones that work for your tastes.
- One of our favorite frozen veggies to use is wild mushrooms. These nutritional powerhouses are typically expensive when fresh and only last a few days from purchase. I use them frequently in soups, stir-fries, and mixed roasted veggie combos.
At The Dinner Daily, we feel good about suggesting the use of frozen vegetables in our recipes to help our members save money and make dinner easier, without compromising on nutrition.
So, next time you’re at the grocery store, consider adding some frozen veggies to your cart, test them out, see how it works for you.
Sources: How Healthy are Frozen Vegetables? Livestrong.com, www.livestrong.com/article/348271-how-healthy-are-frozen-vegetables,
Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables: Are we giving up nutrition for convenience? EatingWell.com http://www.eatingwell.com/article/290575/fresh-vs-frozen-vegetables-are-we-giving-up-nutrition-for-convenience/
Interested in making your dinners easier, less costly and healthier? Learn more about The Dinner Daily.