Frozen foods such as fruits and vegetables are a popular choice in busy households because they are usually quicker to prepare and require less clean up afterwards. But are we sacrificing nutrition for the sake of convenience? Let's weigh up the pros and cons.
Fresh vs Frozen
On the surface, it may seem like fresh produce would provide more nutritional value than frozen. After all, aren't fresh foods, well, fresher? The answer is yes and no. It all depends on where they were picked, how long they have been in transit for, and whether or not they are in season.
- There is now a wide choice of fresh produce available in supermarkets and farmers markets. It greatly benefits our health to eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables, and so having this choice is a positive thing.
- If the produce is in season and local, it will have a fantastic nutritional profile, and will also be perfect in texture and taste.
- From the moment of harvest, fruit and vegetables begin losing nutrients. So, if your produce has been flown halfway around the world, it will have lost quite a bit of nutrition by the time it reaches your plate.
- Often we buy more fresh produce than we need and the excess sits in the fridge going bad.
- Fruit and vegetables are usually frozen immediately after being picked, preserving a higher amount of their nutrients compared with produce from abroad.
- Additionally, with frozen fruit and veg, you tend to waste less because you use what you need and the rest stays in the freezer for next time.
- Less choice. You may not have as many different options as with fresh produce, limiting what frozen fruits and veggies you can buy.
- Depending on the plant, freezing can affect the resulting texture, which may not be pleasing to everyone.
The Bottom Line
Fresh produce loses a lot of its nutritional value if it is out of season or imported. The nutrition in frozen fruit and vegetables tend to be well-preserved due to the fast freezing process. We also waste less frozen foods, and they are more convenient.
Seasonality plays an essential factor in nutritional content. Plants that are grown in season rather than being forced on in greenhouses or polytunnels are much more abundant in vitamins and minerals. They have a better flavour and texture too.
The very best option for nutritional value is to buy fresh, locally grown produce that is in season, and only purchase the amount you know you will consume.
Photo by Devin Rajaram on Unsplash