Fresh or Frozen? Let’s Settle the Debate
Story time for everyone reading! When I first started here, I was living under the assumption that fresh is always better than frozen – and that also contributes to why they can be more expensive! But having spoken to the coordinator Meghan, she told me about a study where they found that frozen veggies are just as nutrient packed as their fresh friends, or sometimes even better!
I. Was. Shocked.
This changed my life, I looked it up, and it’s true. How I cook is so different now, all from this ONE fact!! So let me share with you what I learned from this experience, as well as all my googling!
First of all, they tested fruits and veggies in these studies, in the first one, done by the University of Georgia(disclaimer, it was funded by the Frozen Food Foundation) looked at the nutritional value of supermarket produce at two stages. When they were fresh in the fridge, and when they had been there for five days. They looked at a mixture of fruit and vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, green peas, corn and cauliflower! The whole goal of this study was to disprove that frozen fruit and vegetables aren’t as nutritionally good as fresh [source].
What the study found was that some frozen veggies, like English green peas and green beans offered higher levels of nutrients as compared to their fresh counterparts, which were stored in a fridge! This is because the frozen veggies are taken at peak ripeness and frozen at that time. Meaning there is no chance of them losing nutritional value during travel time, like fresh!
So how can we trust this result? I mean this whole study was funded BY the frozen food industry! The best way to double check results is to look at a similar study. In 2015, UCLA looked into the nutritional profiles of common frozen fruit and veggies and compared them to fresh. Their findings were on average, there were no significant differences between fresh frozen, and if there were, it was VERY slight [source].
Coming away from this, there is no clear answer about which is better for you, or which is worse, but frozen fruit and veggies are not inherently bad for you! Chances are, frozen blueberries are probably going to be better than the ones that have been sitting in your fridge for a week. Frozen foods are not, by definition, less nutritious than fresh food.
The BIG takeaway from all of this is that we should all just eat more fruit and veggies, and knowing we are all on a budget, take a walk down the frozen aisle next time you are shopping. Getting a “stir fry medley” of frozen veggies is probably one of the most versatile dinner items for your week. Plus they save time on chopping and prepping – leaving more time for studying… or Netflix!
Eating some veggies and fruits are much better than eating none all together! Also throwing in some canned veggies isn’t a bad idea either! Just remember to rinse the brine off if you can, and get low-sodium options!
Some frozen veggies, like green peas and green beans offer higher levels of nutrients as compared to their fresh counterparts, when stored in a fridge!