Getting in the recommended 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day (yes, you’re REALLY supposed to eat that much every single day) can be tough. It is hard enough incorporating them in when you aren’t used to eating them at all, but beyond that, it can also be intimidating or impossible to fit that much fresh produce into your grocery budget each week. If there is a cheaper way to get those nutrients in, you deserve to know about it, and that is why I decided to really dig into the difference between fresh and frozen produce.
For starters, let’s talk about the process that those frozen bags of peas go through to get from the farm to your fridge. First, fruits and veggies are picked and sorted to ensure that only the best food gets sent to stores. They are then washed and packaged before being frozen. This process all happens relatively quickly, meaning that most of the nutrients are saved in the freezing process. You are actually a lot closer to eating freshly picked food when you buy frozen than you are when you buy it fresh! This is because fresh fruits and veggies often travel hundreds of miles, sometimes even across continents, to get to your local grocery store. That distance means extra time for nutrients to be depleted (another great reason to buy from your local farms, but I’ll get into that more another day).
Frozen veggies and fruits aren’t that nutritionally different from fresh, which is great news, but what else is there to consider? For me, flavor and texture are key if I want to make sure I’m going to actually ENJOY the produce I’m buying. When frozen, the moisture content of produce is changed, leading to a softer end product when thawed. This means that if you are looking for crunchy broccoli or roasted brussel sprouts, the frozen kind is not going to be your friend. That being said, soups, smoothies, pasta sauces, etc. can all benefit from the addition of these frozen goodies!
Ultimately, if you are trying to get more fruits and veggies in your diet, but are on a budget/want to make sure they don’t go bad before you get to them, frozen produce is an amazing and nutritious option. A healthy mix of colorful fresh and frozen produce is your best bet for maintaining the health of both your wallet and your waistline!