Are Fresh Veggies Better than Frozen?

You might remember frozen vegetables as those questionable and cardboard-like green, yellow and orange things on your plate when you were kid. Fortunately, much has changed in the last decade or so, (thank you, modern science!) and many former frozen-veggie haters are now gobbling up all the great choices available in the grocery store.

Here are four reasons why frozen vegetables should be your new secret weapon in the kitchen!

 

Frozen veggies can be just as nutritious (sometimes more) than fresh.

But isn’t fresh always best? Nutritionally speaking, not necessarily. Unless your veggies were picked yesterday from a local farm (which is not the case for most of us), buying frozen might be more nutritious. In fact, some frozen vegetables are higher in vitamin C and beta-carotene (both important for your immune heath) than their fresh counterparts. This is because frozen vegetables are picked at peak freshness and flash-frozen, which locks in the nutrients and taste. On the other hand, most of our fresh vegetables today travel long distances to get to us. The longer fresh veggies are stored in the fridge, the more nutrients and taste they lose.

 

Frozen veggies will save you time.

Frozen veggies are often peeled, pre-cut and ready to cook, so they can save you a lot of prepping time and can boost the nutrition of your meals in minutes. No more picking up tiny pieces of broccoli that stick to everything! This is a big win in my kitchen!

 

Frozen veggies will save you money.

As consumers, we often pay the price for convenience, but this isn’t always the case for frozen veggies. Most frozen veggies are cheaper or the same price as their fresh counterpart.  If you don’t like spending $8/lb. on asparagus in the winter (which probably have no taste, let’s be honest), try to substitute another green veggie like frozen Brussels sprouts. They have a similar nutrient profile to asparagus, they are great with some olive oil and a tiny pinch of salt, and will cost you around $2 per pound instead2. Buying in season is a great way to save money on veggies, but buying frozen allows you to save money while also having variety year-round.

 

Frozen veggies are great for those cooking for one.

Frozen veggies are great if you’re living on your own because you can use what you need without any waste. You can easily have one cup of butternut squash or add some spinach to your pasta without having to waste the rest. Frozen veggies are also great for individuals who have difficulty with cutting vegetables, because they are already pre-cut for you.

 

The Bottom Line

It’s true that you can never replace the nice crunch or the amazing variety of fresh veggies, but if buying fresh and local veggies aren’t an option for you, frozen veggies are a great alternative. Frozen vegetables have come a long way since the days of the tri-colour “frozen medley.” There are so many options today, from your traditional frozen medley to frozen butternut squash. They are a nutritious, convenient and cost-effective way of increasing your veggie intake. When shopping, look for veggies with no added sauce, sugar or salt on the ingredient list.

 

Here are some great tips for using frozen veggies:

  1. Try to always keep your freezer stocked with frozen spinach. It will change your life! This is my secret weapon of frozen veggies because you can easily add it to so many dishes: pasta sauces, soups, lasagna, omelettes, smoothies, pesto, or even as a side (it’s delicious with some onions and a pinch of curry powder).
  2. Throw in frozen peas when your pasta is almost cooked. They cook very quickly and add a splash of colour and boost the fibre!
  3. Heat up some frozen Brussels sprouts in the microwave. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. They make an amazing snack or side!
  4. Keep some frozen corn handy for chilis, soups or as a side.

 

By Melanie Legare – Registered Nutritionist/Dietitian