A Fresh Look at Frozen Foods

When you’re pressed for time, too tired to cook or out of fresh produce, what should you eat? The answer is as close as your freezer!
Article Photo

Let's assume you have made the commitment to healthier eating by following the MyPlate guidelines and including lots of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Quick, convenient, frozen foods should be a key part of your meal planning.  

Fresh Thinking About Frozen Foods

  • Fruits and vegetables are harvested at their peak and frozen at shortly afterwards, locking in their peak freshness, flavor and nutritional value and minimizing exposure to potential contaminants. They’re a perfectly nutritious option, even when compared to fresh produce and don’t require preservatives to ensure food safety
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables are actually better for you than produce stored in your fridge for a long period, which loses nutritional value over time or worse spoils before it’s consumed.  You save when you buy frozen produce and defrost only the portion you need.
  • Unlike fresh produce, the calories and nutrition facts panel are on the packages for you to review. Take a minute to read labels and check for added sodium, fat or sugar. Check for cooking instructions.  
  • Keep your freezer stocked so you always have healthy options available. Frozen foods last a long time, so you’ll get your money's worth. Take advantage of specials and sales to stock up on frozen produce and savings.
  • Try freeze drying your favorite produce when it’s in season. Freeze drying preserves the taste, nutrients, color, and shape of the food, and the texture is often crunchy. No preservatives are necessary and food can be easily stored in an air-tight container.

Learn more about Freezing and Food Safety from the USDA.

Quick Healthy Meal Idea

In the morning remove frozen fish fillets and a package of vegetables from the freezer and defrost in the fridge. At dinner time, place the defrosted fish and vegetables in a saucepan, add low-sodium vegetable broth and spices or fresh herbs, cover and boil/steam for 5-7 minutes. Viola a healthy, tasty dinner!

 

MyPlate

Health eating is easy with the three-step MyPlate guidelines:

  1. Balance calories by eating less and avoiding oversized portions
  2. Make at least half your plate fruits and vegetables and at least half your grain servings whole grains
  3. Reduce sodium intake and sugary drink consumption

MyPlate incorporates five food groups as building blocks for a healthy diet.

  • Fruits – Include any fruit or 100% fruit juice and may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.
  • Vegetables – Include any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice and may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, dried/dehydrated; and whole, cut-up, or mashed.
  • Grains – Includes any foods made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product.
  • Proteins – Includes all foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds.
  • Dairy – Includes all fluid milk products and many foods made from milk.

Brought to you by the Registered Dietitians at Giant Eagle® and Market District®

Sources:
ChooseMyPlate.gov
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

Important Physician Advice Disclaimer: The content provided by Giant Eagle®, including but not limited to, website, recipe and health information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician for professional guidance before changing or undertaking a new diet program. Advance consultation with your physician is particularly important if you are under the age of 18, pregnant, nursing or have health problems.