Healthy eaters tend to avoid frozen produce, instead getting their fix from the fresh stuff. While no one will argue the virtue of fresh fruits and vegetables, relying on frozen is a great option for athletes who travel frequently, are on a budget, want to use out of season or exotic produce or have limited cooking space, knowledge or interest.
As we are currently in a pandemic situation that includes an unreliable food chain, stay at home orders and over-shopped markets, access to fresh items is uncertain and very limited, the ability to utilize frozen options is greater than ever.
Frozen produce gets overlooked for being lower quality or less healthy than its fresh counterpart. That's a big myth. Frozen options can actually be healthier due to immediate freezing after being harvested which locks in nutrients. Many fresh varieties spend days or weeks getting from harvest to your local market to your plate for consumption, allowing plenty of time for the quality and nutrients to degrade. Feeling good about this dietary swap will help you cook more freely and happily with frozen items.
Skip the Salad
If you love a big fresh salad, don't try to recreate that culinary experience with frozen options; it just won't be as good. Instead, try a bowl, burrito, stew or stir fry. You'll get the best flavor and texture when those frozen vegetables are cooked or heated and treated with a little love from herbs and spices. There's no need to nuke them in a microwave either; frozen vegetables can be sautéed, roasted or steamed just like fresh ones but in less time.
Try a Blend
If you struggle with what produce works well together and end up constantly eat the same variety, opt for a bag of mixed fruit or veggies. From classic to creative combinations, you'll be able to try something new and expand your palate with a pre-mixed blend. Since there is no worry about the ingredients going bad, you can stock up on several bags to mix and match bits from each and try your own blends.
Soups Are Smoothies Too
The classic go-to with frozen fruit is a smoothie, but don't stop there; soup is basically a savory smoothie and a great way to use frozen produce. Try blending frozen squash or broccoli and then heating it on the stove for a hearty vegetable soup, or blend red peppers and peaches with herbs for a chilled gazpacho.
Boost AnythingFrozen avocados, cauliflower, bananas and more can all be added to smoothies, pestos, sauces and baked goods to add a boost of nutrition. You might feel guilty about using fresh produce in this way, but frozen makes it easier to take a small amount from a bag to use here or there, making frozen produce a great way to get your servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
Maximize Your Performance
Some athletes experience GI issues from the bulk of fresh vegetables. Instead of skipping them altogether, try cooking a frozen variety. This will help you get the fiber, vitamins and minerals an active body needs while limiting the bulky feeling fresh produce provides. Don't limit this tactic to just vegetables. Fibers and sugars in fresh fruit can cause gastric distress as well.
Easy to Please
Have a child who only eats buttered carrots, a wife who is doing a low carb diet or a husband who hates anything green? This can be overwhelming for the chef of the house to come up with a nutritious meal to satisfy everyone's needs. Frozen produce is an easy solution for heating up a portion of different vegetables for each member of the household.
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