Vegetables of all kinds are the hard-working backbone of your weight loss plan. Eating lots of veggies provides you with vitamins and minerals that keep your immune system strong and your body energized as you shed excess pounds. That’s why Nutrisystem recommends eating at least four servings of non-starchy vegetables every day. We love frozen vegetables because they make that goal so much more attainable. Here’s why.:
1. Peak of nutrition.
Here’s what it’s all about. You’re eating lots of vegetables because they keep you well-nourished when you’re losing weight. Veggies have their highest nutrient content when they are first-picked and then they gradually lose some vitamins and minerals over time. Fresh produce often takes weeks after picking to reach grocery store shelves.1
Freezing stops the loss of nutrients, says a team of researchers in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. They compared the nutrient content of frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables. They found that frozen is generally equal to fresh, except that the vitamin A and C content of some frozen items is higher.2
2. Lots of choices.
Frozen vegetables help you avoid boredom because you can keep a wide selection on hand. Just reach into the freezer while cooking and pick out what fits into your meal or snack. Since they don’t spoil in the freezer, you can even buy varieties you like only in small quantities or infrequently, such as mushrooms or artichoke hearts. Plus, frozen food is always in season, so you can have your favorites even when they’re not available fresh.
3. Fully ripe.
Do you ever find yourself picking through a bin of fresh vegetables trying to find the items that are exactly at the right stage of ripeness and at their peak of flavor? Farmers harvest many crops for shipping fresh before they’re fully ripe so they don’t spoil before you buy them. Other times, items get buried at the bottom of a bin and they go bad before they’re sold. Frozen vegetables are picked when they’re perfectly ripe and they stay that way until you open the package.3
4. Ready to eat.
If you don’t have time to clean and chop fresh vegetables, you might be tempted to just skip a serving. With bags of mixed frozen veggies, the work is already done for you. You can even find varieties that you microwave in the bag and are ready to serve in a few minutes.
5. Handy for recipes.
Frozen vegetable blends are shortcuts to great dishes. Let’s say you want to make Steak Stir-Fry with Grilled Peppers and Onions or Slow Cooker Parmesan Chicken Stew. You’ll find the veggie combos you need in the freezer case at the supermarket for these recipes and many others.
6. No waste.
Broccoli stalks, carrot ends and lots of other inedible pieces of fresh vegetables end up in the garbage. Frozen vegetables come pre-trimmed, so you’re not throwing away part of what you paid for.
7. Good deals.
You might think you have to pay extra for all of the convenience. However, the per pound prices of fresh and frozen vegetables are generally about the same. Some varieties of frozen veggies actually cost less, especially when you factor in that you won’t be discarding any because it spoils before you can use it all.
Just one thing to bear in mind when buying frozen vegetables. Some may come with added salt or a high-calorie sauce. Read labels to be sure you are getting nothing but veggies in any package you buy. That’s the best deal for your health.