Amy’s pizza, Klondike bars, and those delicious little baby quiches. If you’re like us, they are your frozen food go-tos. But did you know your friendly freezer aisle stocks more than just sugary fixes for your junkiest of junk food cravings?
To be sure, nothing satisfies like good ol’ fashioned chicken nuggets from the freezer (don’t forget the ranch dressing!), but did you know you can buy nutritious supermarket staples, like fruits, vegetables, and fish, frozen, too? And they might actually be better for you than their “fresher,” never-frozen counterparts in the produce section?
According to nutrition experts, frozen veggies and other produce are often more nutritious than fresh foods because they’re picked at peak ripeness when nutrient levels are at their highest. Freezing them locks in the good stuff and keeps those levels from degrading, preserving fruits’ and vegetables’ natural vitamins (which is why you’re eating the damn things in the first place!). Not to mention the convenience and cost-effectiveness of buying frozen. Winning!
Here’s our list of the seven things you should always buy frozen.
By now, hopefully you’ve made peace with the cruciferous veggie your mom made you eat before you could move on to dessert. Rich in vitamins A and C and high in fiber, this cauliflower cousin is considered a super food. But brocolli’s nutrient density begins to degrade after only one day in your fridge. Gross. In other words, fro is the way to go.
Carrots turn rubbery after only a few days in the ol’ Fridgidaire, lessening the appeal of the veg’s major boost in beta carotene. But you can still reap the benefits of carrots (including improved vision and beautiful skin) by stocking up on the frozen variety.
Fresh spinach costs about $4 for less than a cup — and loses nearly all of its nutrient content after only a week of hanging out in the crisper drawer. Frozen spinach? $2 for 10 ounces, AND it will keep its super food status for weeks on end.
Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries. They’re all chockfull of antioxidants, but because they begin to lose their nutrients mere moments after they’re picked and often sit on the shelf for days before hitting your grocery basket, buying them fresh just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Enjoy them frozen straight from the bag for a refreshing treat or throw them, ice and all, in your morning smoothie!
Have you ever tried to shell and pick through fresh peas? No, thank you, we’re good. Not only are you cutting prep time by buying frozen peas, they’re also easy-peasy to cook. Toss them in boiling water or a steamer for less than a minute and they’re good to go!
Just to be clear: we’re not talking fish sticks here (though we love those, too). We’re talking about the sustainably sourced, additive-free filets of salmon, halibut, and cod that you can pair with rice and veggies for a protein-packed pick-me-up meal. But be sure to scan the product’s packaging to avoid anything fishy going on with the ingredients. Frozen good. Added sodium, sugar, or chemicals? Bad.
Since freezing acts as a natural preservative, most breads you find in the freezer aisle don’t require any unnatural additives, so if you’re looking for a more organic loaf, check out the bread on ice. The frozen section often stocks more gluten-free options, too, if you need more buttering up.
As you can see, all the cool kids are hanging out in the frozen section. Meet you there?