This time of year, in the dead of winter, it can be hard to find some of your favorite fruits and vegetables.
Many farmer’s markets have shut down until spring.
And, produce shelves are limited to the basics… bananas, oranges, cucumbers.
Or, if they do have some of your favorites, the cost is double or triple what it is during peak season.
If you’re really craving some berries or broccoli… and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them… there’s another section of your store you should visit… frozen foods.
Research has found keeping produce frozen helps preserve their nutrients.
(Nutrients decline when fresh foods are kept in the fridge.)
So, when the pickings are slim in the fresh produce section, frozen is certainly a healthy option.
Here are my favorite go-to frozen foods…
Tops on my list is berries, specifically raspberries and blueberries.
During the winter, the price for fresh berries is astronomical.
And when you do buy berries fresh, they can go bad in just a few days.
Few things annoy me more than wasting money on spoiled food.
A bag of frozen berries is far more economical during the winter… and you won’t have to worry about them getting moldy just after you buy them.
Plus, since they’re picked and immediately frozen, their antioxidant capacity is preserved.
Use frozen berries as you would fresh… put them in smoothies, top off your yogurt or cereal with them, add them to a salad, or just eat them thawed.
Another frozen favorite is broccoli.
Broccoli is packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, iron and potassium.
It’s also rich in disease-fighting compounds like quercetin and indole-3-carbinol.
But if your fresh bunch sits in your fridge for days, all that health-giving goodness begins to deplete.
With frozen broccoli, the critical nutrients and compounds are locked-in, making it a far healthier option over days-old crowns.
I use frozen broccoli in stir fries, salads, or on its own as a side dish.
One of my newest favorites in the frozen section is spiralized veggies, like butternut squash and zucchini.
I’ve mentioned before that when my pasta cravings hit, I’ll eat a bowl of spiralized noodles with spicy meat sauce.
Most fresh produce sections have large packages of spiralized noodles available.
Problem is, they often go bad before you can eat them.
That’s why I prefer frozen.
I can pull out the amount I want to use, and put the rest back in the freezer for another time.
There are certainly instances where eating fresh is better… like when you can get the foods in their peak season and eat them right away.
But eating frozen can be just as healthy… sometimes even more so… and a great way to get your fruits and vegetables during the offseason.
Plus, you’re definitely going to save money. Both when you buy, and what you don’t waste to spoilage.
So, go ahead and enjoy those frozen berries and broccoli florets, or try something new in your next smoothie.
Mango or papaya anyone?