A common misconception is that frozen foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, are inferior to their fresh counterparts. This is not always the case! The freezer case is usually stocked with convenience foods, from dough, to waffles and cookies, to TV dinners and pizzas. While some sections of the freezer aisle are not nutritious, frozen produce actually provides a nutrient-rich and convenient option for getting fruits and vegetables in the diet. Freezing preserves some of the nutrients and prevents degradation. Enjoy healthy frozen foods with little time or effort with the following tips.
Frozen Vegetables and Fruits
- Choose frozen plain vegetables made without sauce. Some sauces mixed with frozen vegetables add saturated fat, sodium and calories, so always check the Nutrition Facts Label.
- When your favorite fresh fruits are out of season, choose frozen fruit without added sugars in the ingredients list. To help frozen fruit keep its shape, serve while it’s still somewhat frozen. Frozen fruit is useful for smoothies or frozen fruit bars, too!
- Buy fruit and vegetables in loose-pack plastic bags. Pour out what you need, then immediately return what you don’t use to the freezer.
Frozen Meals and Entrées
- Compare nutrition labels of frozen prepared meals, bowl meals and entrées. Along with traditional foods, you’ll find many products (even pizza, lasagna, enchiladas and burritos) with fewer calories and with less saturated fat and trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Always check the serving size on the label when comparing nutrition composition of foods.
- Try to avoid breaded and fried foods. Read the package directions for oven heating, stovetop cooking or microwaving instead of deep-fat frying.