5 Reasons to Fit Frozen Foods into Your Diet
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Frozen foods can be an easy, quick and affordable way to include a variety of nutrients in your diet. There are healthy frozen food options for every food group including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. Let’s take a look at five reasons to add frozen foods to your menus this week.
- Preserves nutrients
Many people think fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are the best and healthiest choices. However, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed the vitamin content in frozen foods to be the same if not higher than fresh produce. There was also no change in calorie, carbohydrate, fat or protein content.
In fact, the nutrient reduction of fresh produce is said to be contributed to by the lengthy transportation process, during which the produce naturally ripens. During transportation fresh produce can also lose moisture and become more vulnerable to spoilage. The freezing process is typically done by flash-freezing where foods are frozen quickly at extremely low temperatures with cold, circulating air. This keeps ice crystals small and prevents moisture loss in the food as it thaws and has actually been proven to preserve the food’s freshness, flavor and nutrients much more effectively! Freezing slows decomposition and inhibits bacterial growth which shuns the myth that frozen foods are less nutritious than fresh foods.
- Spares time
Opting to use frozen foods is an ideal way to save precious time. They can help reduce the time spent at the grocery store, prepping a meal and even kitchen clean-up. Some time-saver foods to include in your freezer stash:
- Whole grain bread
- Pre-peeled and cut vegetables
- Trimmed meat
- Offers variety
Preserving foods by freezing considerably prolongs their shelf life. This is beneficial as it allows seasonal foods such as fruits, vegetables and fish to be enjoyed year-round and not just during certain harvest times. What better way to maintain variety in your diet all year long?
- Saves money
Not only will frozen foods save you time but they can save you money, too. Frozen foods can be significantly less expensive than their fresh counterparts. Keep in mind you can save a bundle if you stock up on frozen foods while they are on sale! In addition, freezing foods can reduce product waste, which means less of your money thrown away.
- Provides convenience
Having your freezer full of a variety of frozen foods can make meal planning and preparation convenient and less stressful. Frozen foods can be prepared quickly and easily in many ways:
They can also be added right into the blender to make a frozen fruit smoothie!
Remember to read the label
Just like all food choices, it is important to be mindful when choosing frozen foods. Not all frozen foods are healthy options. For example, some frozen foods have added sugar, saturated fat, sodium and other additives. The nutrition label and ingredient list can serve as helpful tools to make the best choice by showing if anything contains additives. Try to avoid items with added sauces and syrups as these typically also have higher calories, fat, sugar and salt.
Remember to keep it simple—look for items that are closest to their natural fresh form. There is an abundance of choices on the frozen food aisle so don’t be afraid to explore your options to find something that will taste delicious as well as enhance your diet and nutritional intake.
To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.
Article provided by Mary Montgomery, MS, RDN, LD, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.