By the time winter hits, most fresh produce goes into hibernation making it more difficult to include fruit and vegetables into meal-making. The frozen food section at your local grocery store is packed with inexpensive, quick and nutritious offerings year round. In many cases, frozen vegetables can actually be more nutritious than fresh because they are packaged immediately after harvesting meaning the nutrients stay at their peak. Fruits and vegetables typically last for about eight months when they are unopened in the freezer.
- There is no nutritional difference between the boxed, bagged, or steam-in-bag varieties, so buy whatever you like best.
- Make sure the vegetables haven’t frozen into a solid lump. This is a sign that they have been thawed and refrozen, which means they retain fewer vitamins.
- Avoid anything mixed with cheese, topped with sauce, or accompanied by pasta or rice. The calories and amount of sodium significantly increase when vegetables are mixed with these items.
- Speed up meal prep and increase nutritional content by adding frozen vegetables to casseroles, stews, and soups. Make sure to thaw the vegetables first in the microwave or a bowl of cool water. Also try adding the vegetables to dips or on top of fresh salads.
- Look for fruit in re-sealable bags to help prevent ice crystals, a sign that the fruit has become dehydrated and lost some of its flavour and nutrients.
- Avoid fruits packaged with sugar.
- Try eating frozen fruit straight from the freezer. Mango chunks, cherries, and blackberries can be particularly tasty when eaten ice-cold.
Blend frozen fruit into smoothies or top pancakes, waffles, and yogurt with them for an antioxidant boost.