Frozen foods like fruits and vegetables don't get the credit they deserve. They offer many advantages over fresh, raw produce and are just as nutritious. This is because frozen fruits and vegetables are harvested when they are fully ripen and then are frozen to "lock in" vitamins and minerals.
Other advantages of frozen foods are:
- Convenience: they are ready to use by not having to prepare them in any way, such as washing or cutting
- Availability: they are available all-year-round and can be safely stored in the freezer for 8 - 12 months in its original package
- Waste-free: because they come prepared, they allow you to use what you need without creating food waste
- Value: compared to fresh produce, they can often be more cost-effective
March is recognized as National Frozen Food Month and National Nutrition Month, so in its honor, I wanted to highlight some dietitian-approved recipes that use frozen fruits and vegetables. In addition, take a look at their thoughts on why they themselves us them at home and other helpful resources (towards end of post) that may help you plan ahead.
2. Blueberry Crumb Squares
by Triad to Wellness
"Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually picked ripe then blanched to kill any bacteria and enzyme activity that could go bad
and spoil. Then they are flash frozen so the nutrients are preserved. I purchase frozen fruits and vegetables often in the off
seasons and it’s important to be aware of how long they are in the freezer for as the nutrients deteriorate over time and it’s
best to place the frozen berries in the back of the freezer where the freezer is colder and less chance of deterioration"
3. Fire Roasted Vegan Chili
by Basheerah Enahora, MBA, MS, RDN, LDN, Owner of BE Nutrition LLC
"This Fire Roasted Vegan Chili uses frozen corn, which I love to keep on hand because it allows me to have great tasting corn
all year round. With frozen fruits and veggies on hand, I can always whip up a healthy meal!"
4. Strawberry Banana Cashew Smoothie
by Chef Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD
"Love adding frozen fruit to my smoothies"
5. Winter Berry Smoothie Bowl (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
by Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian, www.sharonpalmer.com
"It’s a great idea to always have some of your favorite frozen fruits and veggies on hand. I like to keep berries, vegetable
blends, peas, and corn on hand at all times. These make wonderful options for easy meals, such as stir-fries, salads,
casseroles, soups, and smoothies. And they are just as healthful as fresh."
6. Vegan Wild Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie
by Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition (amydgorin.com) in the New York City area
8. Tangy Strawberry Sorbet Almond Granola Cups
by Triad to Wellness
9. Vegan Strawberry Smoothie
by Triad to Wellness
12. Peanut Asian Rice Bowl
by Judy Barbe, RD
"Convenience foods are the poster child for “bad food.” They get blamed for a lot of health woes. To be sure, there are many
that deserve the label. But there are also some great options. I used convenience items such as frozen vegetables and
precooked brown rice to have dinner ready in less than 10 minutes."
Resources + Inspirations
Make Ahead Smoothie Packs - by Dixya Bhattarai, MS, RD, LD
"I like to have frozen produce on hand because it makes eating wholesome meals much easier. Some of my fav frozen items include frozen fruits for my smoothies and frozen veggies are great for soups, pasta, and casserole so you can simply add them to your meals."
5 Ways to Prolong the Shelf-Life of Your Produce - by Katie Cavuto, RD
"Frozen veggies are a great way to reduce food waste and prolong shelf-life as they are good for a few months! Plus, frozen produce is picked at peak ripeness and flash frozen to lock in all those good nutrients. At the beginning of the week I’ll take a bag of frozen vegetables from my freezer and toss it in the fridge to thaw for use throughout the week."
Jessica Spiro, RD of jessicaspirord .com provides another advantage to use frozen veggies as a mom and states:
"As a mom, I love frozen veggies because they tend to be softer than when I cook them myself. This is great for babies and toddlers who may still need easier to chew foods. Frozen produce also helps ensure we have our veggies even on busy nights when we have no time to cook!"