Sometimes it just seems easier to opt for frozen produce, right? Either it is significantly cheaper than its fresh counterpart or it is just more convenient to have it in the freezer when you need it for a dew months. But how much nutrition are we actually sacrificing when we head down the frozen food aisle?
The first thing to say is that fresh is almost always best. Not only do fresh fruit and veg taste better but it is more nutritious. But this rule doesn’t work across the board. When we talk about fresh produce we are on about the fruit and veg that, where possible, is left on the vine to ripen. This is because, as you would expect, produce is the most nutrient rich when it is ripe. And therefore some fresh fruit and veg that is picked well before that might not pack in quite as many nutrients as those that are left on the vine.
It is true to say that the freezing process does lock in nutrients because of the flash process but some nutrients are lost in the blanch stage prior. Typically vitamin C is a good example of a nutrient that is water-soluble that can be lost during the blanch stage. Of course none of this applies to the food you freeze yourself. Needless to say the industrial freezing process is completely different and you aren’t going to lose or gain any nutrients if you decide to buy fresh and then freeze at home.
Obviously the blanching only happens with some vegetables though, so if you are buying frozen fruit it will go straight from the tree into the freezer. It’s vegetables that are more likely to be processed so make sure you read your labels to ensure you are just getting the good stuff.
All that being said, all professionals will recommend eating as much fresh fruit and vegetables, not frozen. So why is it that so many of us turn to frozen? Well, for one it is usually cheaper. You can get the exact same amount of produce for a lot less money. Eating well is often criticised for how much more it costs and even though there are clever ways to get around it, this is a great way to save money.
Then you have the fact that it is just more convenient. You don’t have to worry about eating it straight away before it goes off and you can buy in bulk so that you have it for the whole week/month. As hard as you try you aren’t going to be able to store fresh produce for that long.
So the question is which do you care about more, getting fresh produce or making life a little bit easier? Generally short cuts and tricks don’t work when it comes to getting in shape and I always try to discourage it. But the fact is that any fruit and vegetables are better than none at all. This isn’t one of those cases where you should feel guilty for making your life a little bit easier. Of course if you can ensure you have fresh food all the time then that is going to be the best thing that you can do. But if you need to opt for frozen then there is nothing wrong with that.