Nutritional Value of Frozen Foods
A common misconception is that all frozen dinners are bad for you, which leads some people to think frozen fruits and vegetables might not be high in nutritional value either. In reality, freezing doesn't have nearly as big of an impact on food's nutritional value as you might think.
Here are a few things you should know about the nutritional value of frozen food.
Fresh vs. Frozen Produce
Although freezing food can cause it to lose some nutritional value, frozen food holds more nutrients than canned and even some fresh vegetables. In fact, water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B are typically retained during the freezing process.
Fresh foods lose nutrients while they're picked unripe and shipped to grocery stores.
Frozen produce is frozen after being picked fully ripe, so it hasn't had the chance to lose as many nutrients as fresh foods being shipped to supermarkets.
Similar to frozen produce, canned fruits and veggies also maintain many of the nutrients that the plants had when they were first harvested and canned.
On the whole, there isn’t a significant difference between the nutritional value between frozen, canned, and fresh produce. That said, certain produce is better in certain forms.
For example, canned tomatoes often contain more nutrients than fresh or frozen varieties, whereas, peas and spinach are better frozen. On the other hand, you’re better off buying citrus fruits and broccoli fresh from the store.
Keep in mind that cooking methods also influence how many nutrients are lost. The best way to cook frozen vegetables is to steam them with very little water in the microwave.
Cooking them in a large amount of water causes a higher loss of nutrients. Roasting is another good cooking method for preserving nutrients in your frozen vegetables.
How to Choose the Best Frozen Foods
Some frozen meals are unhealthier than fast food. Check the nutritional labels to know if it’s good for you. Sodium, sugar and fats are common culprits of unhealthiness in frozen meals. You should also pay attention to what the foods are stored in. Avoid foods stored in any containers that are made from or with polyvinyl chloride, polycarbonate, or polystyrene.
Look for entrees that don’t have a high amount of added sugar and sodium.
Plain frozen fruits and veggies are usually healthy. If they come packed with sauces or syrups, then that is often the reason it less unhealthy. Sauces in frozen foods can be high in sodium, fat or sugar.
Some frozen meals are healthy, but others aren’t. Examples of the best frozen meals to eat include Kashi, Amy’s, Lean Cuisine and Evol.
Even when choosing from a top brand in healthy frozen food you should always make sure to check the nutritional labels.
Frozen foods can be as healthy as or healthier than fresh food. Just remember to check packaging and nutritional information.