Diabetes Diet: Reasons To Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Ideally, we would go out to our garden and pick the produce we need for each day’s meals, but that scenario is far from reality for most of us. The next best option is buying fresh, local produce from our grocer, or a farmer’s market, and using it within a few days. That’s doable for most of us, but not necessarily on a regular basis.

That's why, for the preparation of healthy, home-cooked meals, the frozen food aisle is a great go-to place for fruits and veggies.

Locked In Nutrients

Since frozen produce is typically processed and chilled immediately after harvest the nutrient content is generally close, sometimes comparable to fresh, in-season produce. Occasionally, frozen produce has slightly better values than their fresh counterparts, as fresh items steadily lose nutrients the longer they sit—waiting to be purchased and eaten.

One study found out-of-season supermarket broccoli that was shipped-in from abroad had only half the vitamin C content as in-season supermarket broccoli. So, for out-of-season produce needs, frozen is a good option.

Economical Way To Go Organic

Besides providing us with essential nutrients, having a varied supply of frozen fruits and vegetables in the freezer gives us flexibility with meal preparation, and makes eating organic produce more affordable.

All frozen produce is typically cheaper than fresh, and that includes organic brands. We may get more volume of an organic item for the same price as buying fresh, or get more volume at a substantially lower price. Those who have ample freezer space can also take advantage of sales to stock up on frozen organic goods.

A pilot study out of RMIT University showed that eating a diet of 80 percent organic, and 20 percent conventional foods for one week reduced pesticide residues in adults by 89 percent. Though larger studies are needed to validate these results, anyone concerned about consuming pesticide neurotoxins from conventionally grown foods might consider buying frozen organic produce.

Creating A Good Habit

Whether choosing conventionally or organically grown, it’s recommended we eat at least five servings of fruits and veggies every day. To put it another way, an adult eating 2,000 calories per day should be consuming a minimum of 2.5 cups of veggies, and 2 cups of fruit daily.

A recent study found those who purchase frozen produce consume more fruits and vegetables than people who don’t buy frozen goods. Keeping in mind this study was conducted by the Frozen Food Foundation, it makes sense that having produce in our freezer - usually pre-washed, and precut - makes frequently eating fruits and veggies more convenient. Making good choices convenient is a proven way to create good habits.

Rule of Thumb

We know that eating well, and loading dinner plates with non-starchy vegetables nourishes the body and helps normalize our blood sugar. So, while fresh, in-season produce is both flavorful and highly nutritious, it’s good to have a backup supply of frozen berries, beans, broccoli, and other garden fare.

A good rule of thumb is to eat fresh, in-season, locally grown produce often as possible, and when that’s not an option to take pleasure in preparing and eating the produce from our freezer.

Sources: NCBI, AARP, Buisness Insider, SF Gate/Healthy Eating
Photo: Pixabay

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