When it comes to buying frozen food, I try to avoid TV dinners, pizzas, and other packaged meals. They’re usually packed with sodium and they never taste all that great anyway. However, I do always have some frozen veggies and berries on hand. They’re easy to cook with, last much longer than fresh produce, and they’re actually pretty healthy.
As a matter of fact, some frozen veggies are actually healthier than their fresh counterpart! Thanks to quick-freezing technology, foods are frozen at the peak of their ripeness, and they retain the nutrients in the freezer much better than they do on the shelves. By the time you get out-of-season produce home, it’s likely that it’s lost some nutrients along the way.
There’s no beating fresh, in-season produce – especially if it comes from a local garden – but when “fresh” foods are out-of-season or coming from far away, frozen is a great option.
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Here are some frozen foods that are healthy, convenient, inexpensive, and taste great!
I love having frozen berries in the house! Making a morning smoothie couldn’t be easier with frozen fruit, and there are lots of options. Frozen berries are also great to have around for baking. They retain their structure when frozen, so you can’t tell the difference between fresh and frozen after cooking with them. If you can find tart cherries in the freezer aisle, definitely grab some, because cherries have LOTS of health benefits!
Like fruits and veggies, herbs are picked and frozen at the best time for flavor. What I really like about frozen herbs, though, is how easy they are to use! They’re pre-measured and melt quickly once you add them to food.
I hate throwing out herbs that I forgot I had in the produce bin, or tipping over jars of water with herbs in the fridge. These frozen herb packs last much longer than fresh herbs, and they taste much better than dried herbs.
Bell peppers are packed with vitamins A and C. They’re just as nutrient dense when frozen, and they come seeded and chopped! Another nice thing about these frozen veggies is that you can grab as much as you need – no wasting half a pepper because you didn’t need it right away!
Spinach is another nutrient dense choice in the freezer aisle, especially since spinach starts loosing nutrients as soon as it’s picked. Frozen spinach can be quickly added to a lasagna, soups, or scrambled eggs – yum!
Broccoli has vitamins A and C, calcium, fiber, and sulforaphane. And when it comes to broccoli, frozen is almost always cheaper than fresh.
When cooking with something like butternut squash, remember that buying frozen will save you the time of peeling, chopping and preparing. These bite-size pieces are great for casseroles, soups or for roasting! Plus, it’s got tons of fiber, beta-carotene, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.
I like to call these frozen veggies “add-ins,” because you can toss a handful into lots of different meals! They’re great for adding some color and vitamins to a quick dinner, like this super easy pasta primavera from BHG!
- 8 ounces dried pasta
- 16 ounces desired frozen mixed vegetables
- 4 ounces cream cheese spread with chive and onion
- 1/4 cup milk
- Ground black pepper
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
Start bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Add a bit of salt to the water, your favorite type of noodle and bring to a rolling boil. Check your noodle package for the cooking time. When there’s about 5 minutes of cooking time left, add in the frozen veggies.
When both the noodles and veggies are tender, drain the water and return the mixture to the hot pot. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the warm burner. Add the cream cheese spread and stir gently until smooth. Once the cream cheese is mixed throughout, slowly add milk until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
Salt and pepper to taste, and top with parmesan cheese before serving. Yum! This recipe is so easy to make, tastes delicious, and can be enjoyed hot or cold. It’s great for a picnic or potluck. :-)
What’s your favorite frozen food?
QUICK AND EASY PASTA SALAD
- 8 ounces Pasta dried
- 16 ounces Mixed vegetables Frozen
- 4 ounces Cream cheese spread with chive and onion
- 1/4 cup Milk
- Ground black pepper
- 50 grams Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Bring a pot of water to boil, add a pinch of salt, and then add the noodles.
- Check the cooking instructions for your noodles, and add your frozen veggies when the noodles need 5 minutes of cooking.
- Once pasta and veggies are tender, drain the water and return the mixture to the pot.
- Add cream cheese spread to pasta and let the cream cheese heat through in the hot pot.
- Stir in milk until you've reached the desired consistency and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with parmesan cheese before serving.