Thursday, April 21, 2011

Frozen IS Fresher

The freezer section of the grocery store can be a scary place for nutrition freaks (I know I'm intimidated by aisles and aisles of freezers towering over me).  However, you need not skip the freezer aisles while shopping to ensure a healthier lifestyle.  Quite the opposite actually.

Fresher ≠ Healthier
Frozen foods are not only cheaper, but sometimes healthier than fresh foods - especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables.  According to a 1998 study by the FDA, frozen fruits and vegetables have the same health benefits as fresh fruits and vegetables.  However, this doesn't give you the full picture.  Certain vegetables like spinach and green beans lose 75% of their vitamin C after being stored in the refrigerator for a week.  Ready-to-drink orange juice has less than half the vitamin C of frozen OJ and loses all of its vitamin C within a month of opening the container.  
Additionally, food producers pick produce for the produce aisle before it is ripe and let it ripen on the very long (perhaps over 1,000 mile) journey to your local supermarket.  On the other hand, produce meant to be frozen is picked at its peak ripeness - this means it has soaked up all the possible nutrients from the soil and sun.

Frozen Produce is Better for the Environment
Unlike "fresh" fruits and vegetables that have to be grown in hot houses and tropical climates and shipped to your local grocery store out of season, frozen produce can be picked at peak ripeness (and in the correct growing season) and then stored.  Since the freezing process allows fruits and vegetables to be stored almost indefinitely without losing their nutrients, frozen is the way to go.

Frozen Produce Tips
  • Always keep a full freezer - cooling air requires more energy than cooling food, so save money on electricity by buying more frozen items
  • Steam or microwave your frozen vegetables - they can lose up to 50% of their nutrients when boiled
  • Buy frozen blueberries whenever you can find them, as they are far more nutritious than the fresh variety
  • If you buy frozen dinners, spice them up with a frozen vegetable medley


  1. However, *cooking* certain fresh fruits or vegetables can result in a severe cut in nutritional content. So the best advice is: buy frozen what you would cook anyway, and buy fresh what you plan to eat fresh.

  2. Noooo, I love "fresh" OJ!

    Looks like I'm buying frozen OJ from now on. Is frozen generally cheaper? I almost never shop frozen so I don't even know what prices are like.