This post is sponsored by The National Processed Raspberry Council at RedRazz.org, but all opinions are my own.
As part of Nutrition to Fit’s Frugal Food Favorites series, each week we highlight a favorite affordable food and all of its nutritional benefits, in addition to ways and recipes to include it in your life. This week is all about frozen food, particularly frozen fruits and vegetables!
I love my freezer. So much so, that when I was pregnant walking around my neighborhood, I bought a second-hand deep freezer from the neighborhood ice cream truck lady off the street (true story!). But seriously - as you guys will see, freezing food has SO many benefits, from maintaining nutritional integrity to added convenience and enabling me to get nourishing meals ready in a jiffy.
This week is going to look a little bit different in Frugal Food Favorite land, because instead of discussing all the benefits and recipes of one individual food, we're looking at a type of food that I personally love because it saves me money, time, and helps me get a balanced meal on the dinner table at least a couple nights a week. I'm talking about frozen fruits and vegetables! And what better a time, too, as March is both National Nutrition Month AND Frozen Food Month! Let's dive right in!
Nature's Pause Button on Nutrition & Flavor
Freezing is nature's pause button. It's a great way to lock in all the taste and nutrition of fresh-picked fruits and vegetables. I know oftentimes, like with frozen red raspberries, the fruit is often harvested at its optimal ripeness and flash frozen within a matter of hours! Because of this, research suggests that some nutrients are actually preserved better in frozen foods than they are fresh, where nutrients degrade faster. Especially when looking at the nutrition of produce stored in the fridge five days compared to the same type of produce stored in the freezer five days (and let's be real - I think we've all had produce longer than five days in our fridges before!).
Additionally, one of the other big nutritional reasons I love frozen fruits and vegetables is because it's a form of processing that adds no chemicals or preservatives - just cold air! Of course, always check your ingredient labels to make sure a bag of frozen vegetables isn't coming "ready to serve" and pre-seasoned with a significant amount of salt (it's super easy to add your own lower sodium seasonings at home).
Time-Saving & Convenient
Frozen fruits and vegetables offer a great convenience for busy families. No matter the season, there is always a wide variety of nutritionally-intact fruits and vegetables available in the freezer aisle. Additionally, there's a element of time-saving. A cup of frozen fruit can quickly be taken from the bag in the freezer and added to a smoothie. A bag of frozen vegetables can be steamed in the microwave for a veggie side, or to be used in casseroles, soups, frittatas, and more.
High Quality at a Value
Oftentimes frozen produce can be bought at a less expensive price per ounce than fresh food. Additionally, you can often find sales (I love stocking my freezer with frozen fruits and vegetables during buy one, get one free deals!) and store and/ or manufacturer coupons. Furthermore, there's less food waste with frozen foods. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had that experience of buying the beautiful fresh berries that seem to go bad the very next day, or who has that zucchini that got hidden at the bottom of the produce drawer. With frozen food, you know the food you're purchasing is at its peak ripeness and you don't have to worry about it spoiling before your family can consume it. Plus, there's a big difference between forgetting a bag of green beans in your fridge for a couple weeks than there is with forgetting them in your freezer. 😉
Recipes + Uses
To be honest, you can use frozen fruit and frozen vegetables in nearly any context that you can use fresh! Even roasting! In fact, I have a friend that swears roasting frozen broccoli makes it have less of an....aroma...compared to fresh broccoli. Just in case you need some recipe inspiration, I have some recipes here that use frozen food to get you started. 🙂
Raspberry Ginger Glazed Salmon from RedRazz.org
Sirloin, Greens, and Raspberry Dijon Vinaigrette from RedRazz.org
Raspberry Lime Chia Jam by Julie Harrington, RDN at RDelicious Kitchen
Wild Blueberry Peanut Butter Smoothie by Amy Gorin, RDN of Amy Gorin Nutrition
Angel Food Cake Overnight Oats by Kelli Shallal, RDN of Hungry Hobby
Mason Jar Baked Blueberry Oatmeal by Kelli Shallal, RDN of Hungry Hobby
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Mango Chili Lime Grilled Tiger Shrimp by Jenny Shea Rawn, RDN of My Cape Cod Kitchen
Make Ahead Smoothie Packs by Dixya Bhattarai, RDN of Food, Pleasure, & Health
Vegan Gluten Free Black Forest Trifle by Kara Lydon, RDN, RYT of The Foodie Dietitian
Frozen Wild Blueberry Overnight Waffle Bake by Shannon Garcia, RDN of Kiss in the Kitchen
5 Minute Spring Superfood Salad by Danielle Cushing, RDN of The Every Kitchen
Wild Blueberry and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad by Meri Raffetto of Real Living Nutrition
No Bake Almond Bars with Berry Chia Jam by Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RDN of One Hungry Bunny
Purple Power Smoothie by Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD of Eat Real Live Well
Black Forest Grass-Fed Whey Protein Smoothie by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Cauliflower Fried Rice by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Mexican Chicken Chili by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Freezer to Slow Cooker Lentil Stew by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Clementine Cutie Creamsicle Smoothie by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Italian Broccoli, Barley, and Beans by Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD of Eat Real Live Well
Frittata with Greens and Ricotta by Jess Cording, RDN of Jessica Cording Nutrition
Pea Soup with Rosemary and Thyme by Meri Raffetto of Real Living Nutrition
Brussels Sprouts with Grape Honey Glaze by Amy Gorin, RDN of Amy Gorin Nutrition
Sweet Potato Corn Chowder by Tracee Yablon Brenner, RDN of Triad to Wellness
Broccoli and Cheese Frittata by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Beef and Mushroom Stew by Elizabeth Ward, RDN of Better is the New Perfect
Hash Brown Breakfast Bowl by Cara Harbstreet of Street Smart Nutrition
Peanut Asian Rice Bowl by Judy Barbe, RDN of Live Best
Spinach Pea Pasta by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, CLC of Nutrition to Fit
Poblano Roasted Corn Chowder by Dr. Jennifer Muir Bowers, RDN of Dr. Jenn Bowers Nutrition
Texas Caviar AKA Black Bean Salad by Amanda Hernandez, RDN of The Nutritionist Reviews
Spring Green Salad with Lemon by Amanda Hernandez, RDN of The Nutritionist Reviews
Feast Day Soup by Shannon Garcia, RDN of KISS in the Kitchen