We all know that we should be eating more vegetables. Few of us actually follow through on that commandment. Vegetables taste, well, like vegetables. They can also be counter-intuitive to prepare for people who aren’t savvy in the kitchen. Frozen vegetables are cheap and easy. But do we lose some nutrients in the translation? A new study from the University of Georgia says no.
The study looked at the nutrient profiles of eight different fruits and vegetables, specifically broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, peas, green beans, spinach, blueberries and strawberries. The study also differentiated between different seasonal growing periods for these fruits and vegetables. The produce was examined in three major categories: fresh, “fresh-stored” produce that had been refrigerated for five days, and frozen.
Contrary to what some people believe, there was almost no difference in nutrient retention between the three categories. Frozen produce actually had a slightly higher density of nutrients than the other two.
When you freeze produce, it halts the action of natural enzymes that occur in the plants. The enzymes break down the produce over time, eventually spoiling it. When you freeze fruits and vegetables when they’re ripe, it sustains the full nutrient load until you’re ready to eat it, at your own convenience.
If you don’t like frozen produce, no big deal. Eating fresh is just as good, as long as it’s not spoiled and you’re eating a lot of it. But if you’re looking for a cheap, easy way to incorporate more produce into your diet and don’t want to worry about the stuff melting in your fridge, frozen is the way to go.
A 2013 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that a stunning 90% of Americans don’t get enough vegetables in their diet. 80%, perhaps even more surprisingly, don’t get enough fruit. The recommended guidelines are 2-3 cups of vegetables daily, and 2 cups of fruit.
Green smoothies are a very popular way of smuggling fruits and vegetables into your system, past finnicky tastebuds. Adding fruit to morning oatmeal is also a great way of putting more nutrients in your life.
Frozen fruit can get expensive. But if you’re looking to load up on frozen fruits and vegetables without forking over a ton of money, consider shopping at dollar stores. The bigger chains usually stock bags of frozen produce at a fraction of the price you’d pay at a grocery store. And this article’s author can attest to the produce not being gross. Sometimes, you can even get fresh fruits and vegetables at dollar stores.