Frozen food is more than just convenient – it can make life healthier too! March is the month to take a look at all the ways frozen food can make life better. Frozen food gets a bad rap once in a while; some say it has negative effects or is loaded with preservatives… But as long as you check the ingredients list and choose the options with the shortest list of ingredients (that you can pronounce, preferably), you’re in the clear.
Benefits of Frozen Food
Fruits and vegetables are picked at peak ripeness and often frozen within hours, locking in nutrients and flavor. Generally, frozen foods retain their vitamins and minerals and there is no change to the carbohydrate, protein or fat content. In some cases, frozen foods have more vitamins and minerals compared to fresh because fresh foods lose vitamins and minerals over time while freezing preserves nutrients.
Frozen foods can be a convenient and affordable way to incorporate healthful foods from every food group, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy. In addition to a time-saving convenience, frozen foods can be a benefit for individuals with limited kitchen space or utensils. Not only can frozen foods be more affordable in price, but they also can aid in reducing food waste.
Not all frozen foods are created equal – many can be high in saturated fat, added sugars and salt. When selecting frozen foods, look at the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list and avoid those with added sauces.
When selecting frozen meals or convenience foods, compare Nutrition Facts labels to find nutritious choices. Keep in mind that some frozen dinners are considered more than one serving, which means you will need to double or triple the calories and nutrients listed in the Nutrition Facts if you eat the entire package. Choose those that are lower in saturated fat, added sugars, and salt and are higher in fiber, vitamin and mineral content.
Keep it Safe
To keep frozen foods safe, follow cooking methods specified on the package. The safest way to thaw frozen foods is in the refrigerator. When thawing meat in the refrigerator, make sure juices do not drip onto other foods. To thaw in a hurry, place the food in a leak-proof plastic bag and submerge it in cold water until thawed, replacing the cold water every half hour and cooking it immediately after thawing. Foods also can be thawed in the microwave and should be cooked immediately after thawing.
Here are some fun and surprising facts about frozen food that will make you want to stock your freezer.
- Frozen food doesn’t expire! You can leave food in the freezer indefinitely without it spoiling, but the longer you leave it, the more it may lose flavor.
- It’s safe to refreeze food after you’ve taken it out of the freezer to place in the fridge, but again, it may lose a bit of flavor.
- You can buy frozen fruits and vegetables for a consistently healthy diet, and they won’t spoil like they do in the fridge or sitting on your counter.
- Generally, it’s still okay to eat after its expiration date.