It is common knowledge that vegetables are one of the cornerstones of a healthy diet. Vegetables are filled with the crucial vitamins and nutrients necessary for bodily health. Experts recommend that the average person eat two or three cups of vegetables each day. Unfortunately, reaching this total can be difficult. This is especially true in the growing off-season, when fresh vegetables are either unavailable or expensive. Many consumers stop even trying to eat enough vegetables during the off-season.
There is a better option, though: frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are an incredibly convenient and simple way to consume a healthier diet. However, many people resist the idea of frozen veggies. The main objection to frozen vegetables is that they can’t possibly be as healthy as natural, fresh, unfrozen vegetables. But in fact, this is not the case.
To create frozen vegetables, fresh-picked, ripe produce is first blanched in hot water (to clean the vegetable and kill off bacteria), and then flash frozen. Though the freezing process degrades both B vitamins and vitamin C, nearly all other nutrients are locked in, preserving them almost indefinitely. In contrast, fresh vegetables start ageing and losing their nutritional value almost immediately after being harvested. Moisture is gradually lost, and nutrients slowly but steadily degrade. To make matters worse, most fresh vegetables are picked before they are ripe (when nutrient value is naturally maximized), so as to look better on supermarket shelves.
Since fresh veggies often sit in warehouses, grocery stores, and then your home for days or even weeks before they are finally consumed, the loss of nutrients can really add up. While vegetables gathered directly from a farm or garden will usually be healthier than frozen vegetables, it’s different story with the ‘fresh’ veggies found in supermarkets — which is, of course, where almost all consumers get their fresh vegetables.
Frozen vegetables also make it easier for consumers to get the variety of vegetables that is so important to a balanced, healthy diet. Since individual kinds of vegetables are only available during certain parts of the year, fresh vegetable selection will always be limited — not so with frozen veggies. Plus, unlike fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables won’t go bad soon after being bought, so consumers don’t have to worry about eating them during a certain frame of time.
One thing about frozen vegetables that is important to understand is that the method by which the vegetables are prepared can affect their health value. Boiling, for example, will leach some nutrients out. Options like steaming or microwaving are better choices. Note also that frozen vegetables already sold with added flavoring, seasoning, or sauces will almost always be high in sodium and overall less healthy. Avoiding frozen vegetables packaged with extra ingredients is a good idea.
Another common objection against frozen vegetables is that they don’t taste nearly as good as fresh vegetables. This point actually does have some truth to it — the fresher the vegetable, the more flavor it will have. While frozen veggies will still retain plenty of taste, they may not always be able to match up against their fresh rivals.
Still, it’s not like frozen vegetables taste bad. Plus, a, more importantly, factor is that most folks don’t eat enough vegetables. Worrying about eating healthily is more important than obsessing about flavor. Frozen vegetables can also be jazzed up in a variety of ways — i.e., by using the vegetables as an ingredient in a dish.
So should everyone eat frozen vegetables? Well, not necessarily. People who really love the taste of fresh vegetables — and who are dedicated enough to make sure they eat enough of them, even in off months — can safely avoid the frozen variety. But, most people won’t fall into this category. The average person’s diet would be significantly improved if they started buying frozen vegetables. Clearly, consuming frozen vegetables has numerous advantages, and more people should eat them.