Do you ever wonder to yourself: are frozen vegetables healthy or how frozen fruits compare to fresh? I think the vast majority of people when asked this question would say that fresh beats frozen when it comes to nutritional value. However, since during the winter months many of us rely on frozen veggies and fruit more often, I did some reading on this topic and it turns out it’s good news when it comes to using frozen produce!
Here are some common myths about frozen fruits and vegetables:
- Foods automatically lose nutrients when they’re frozen. This isn’t necessarily the case. When farmers and growers freeze these items, they tend to freeze them when they are at their peak nutritional value and ripeness. Fresh fruits and veggies that we see at the grocery store, or sometimes at the local farmer’s market, are usually picked when they aren’t ripe to allow for transportation time and processing by the time they reach your grocery store. This means they are picked before their peak, giving you less nutrients for your dollar.
A recent cover story on Time Magazine called “What to Eat Now” written by Dr Oz (December 3rd, 2012) talks about the health benefits of frozen veggies and how the more expensive farmers market option may not be any healthier for us, just more expensive. Isn’t that a good piece of news!
2. Frozen foods have preservatives or additives. Also not necessarily true. Frozen foods are typically cleaned using nothing other than boiling water, and since they are frozen no preservatives are needed. While you should read labels and watch out for veggies and fruits that have extra sugar or salt, most products don’t feature preservatives or additives at all.
3. Frozen foods don’t fit in to an organic diet. Not true! There are excellent organic options available for frozen fruits and vegetables. These insecticide-free versions of frozen vegetables and fruits give you perhaps even more nutritional value at the end of the day.
Most grocery stores carry at least one organic brand of frozen product (Cascadian Farms is one of use frequently) and it’s often more economical than the fresh counterpart. I use frozen organic berries year round to put in yogurt and mix in with fruit salad. No one notices the difference and you can use it a bit at a time therefore eliminating waste. Frozen raspberries for instance are almost always cheaper than buying fresh and they defrost to almost the same texture as fresh!
In conclusion, we should feel good about using frozen produce in our diets. It’s often less expensive, more convenient, and results in less waste. And most importantly, it is most likely just as nutritious!
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/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/fresh_vs_frozen_vegetables_are_we_giving_up_nutrition_fo,