The 5 Simple Benefits of Frozen Foods
Let discuss frozen foods, and why the bad reputation?
It really gets me upset when people knock frozen food options because for many of us, frozen food options are a big part of our health journey. Not to mention much of what is said is not always true. In fact, I am an advocate of certain frozen food options and here's why.
1. Convenience & Ease
Lets be real. Prepping and cooking from scratch sounds amazing and if you can do that everyday, more power to ya! I think it's awesome. Many days this is an option, but many days it's not. Most days are crazy busy and I need convenience. If I saw clients on the weekend, I probably didn't prep everything I need to make gourmet dinners all week long and although I am an RDN, I am not a chef. I enjoy cooking and love cooking for others, but if my health depended on me cooking every single thing I ate, I wouldn’t be so healthy. I would be defaulting to unhealthy options because time doesn’t permit. I love having wild frozen salmon, veggie burgers, grouper burgers, frozen veggies (a lot of them at all times), single-serve frozen edamame, and cauliflower mash already done for me, and the list goes on! It is easy, convenient, and keeps me eating healthfully.
I also love those single serve frozen herbs! Have you tried those? Incredible for when you're cooking; they save tons of time and deliver all the flavor! Life happens, so keep healthy frozen options on hand.
2. Always Have a Backup Plan
As mentioned above, life happens. So let’s be prepared and have a backup plan! I can make at least 5 different meals from frozen food in 10-15 minutes (or less!) with what I have in my freezer right now. It's harder to make excuses if your freezer is packed with nutritious foods that you can prep in minutes.
You left your prepared snacks at home? No problem, because you have a handful of frozen edamame packs in your work fridge! You can mix fresh & frozen, and this makes for a great healthy snack anytime.
Always try to have at least a couple of frozen meal options that work with your nutrition program ready to go, for days that 10 minutes of prep seems like an eternity. We all have those days - be honest with yourself and have it ready!
3. Sometimes Frozen is Healthier
Here’s the real kicker! There are MANY cases where frozen fruits & veggies are more nutritious than their fresh counterparts in your local supermarket. I know, it sounds strange, but it's true. Unless, of course, you're getting local produce that was just picked from the farmer's stand or a local produce basket.
At the supermarket, you're likely purchasing fruits and vegetables that were picked before they were ready - before peak nutrition value was achieved - then those veggies and fruits travel FAR, before you even get your hands on them. The colors of the produce may change, which helps it to appear to be ripe and nutritious, but the antioxidant and nutritional value is less in those cases than if that fruit or vegetable was picked at their peak of freshness and immediately eaten or flash frozen.
If you’re buying fresh, try to buy local fresh produce so you know your food isn’t traveling too far and can be picked as close as possible to peak nutrition. Also, supporting local farming is a beautiful way to give back to your community! I always keep a variety of frozen berries, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels, cauliflower (both rice & mash) in my freezer.
I buy fresh as well, don’t get me wrong - but sometimes they're not consumed in time, or I don’t make it to the store that day and I'm late restocking my pantry. These factors shouldn’t disrupt my health journey, bringing me to my next point…
4. Shelf Life is Everything Here
We go to the store with the best of intentions and some weeks, we're nutritional rock stars. Our meals are prepped, our snacks on point and we're eating fresh everything. Love it. Sometimes though, this doesn’t happen. So instead of throwing our hands in the air and going to the local fast food place, head home to your stocked freezer where you can steam up some cauliflower rice or broccoli, top it with a wild salmon burger and you're set! If you have shredded parmesan and olive oil go for it, perhaps a favorite dipping sauce?
Your frozen fruits, veggies, & protein options last way longer when frozen and this makes a big difference at the end of a long work day.
That moment when you get home and you were planning on making a specific meal, only to realize the arugula you were planning on using has gone bad, you have no onion in the house, and you’re pretty sure the ground wild salmon you bought just doesn’t look right. That’s when frozen shelf life is everything!
5. 10 Minutes Feels like 50 After a Long Day
And all you want to do is pour yourself a 4oz glass of red wine (sneaking in that suggested portion size for ya) and enjoy some delicious eats… But you don’t want to cook, your frozen options seem like an hour away. This is when having at least 2 full frozen meals in the freezer is key my friends.
My favorite frozen meals are from BistroMD. Plain and simple. They make great products from fresh foods that are simply frozen and delivered right to you. They're not meant to be eaten immediately, so you can stash a few for later!
They have options for most dietary restrictions and what I love most is the carb to protein ratio, as well as the sodium control. The carb content is mainly coming from fresh vegetables, sometimes sauces, fruit, or legumes; they make an effort to provide carbohydrates from healthy sources, fresh ingredients and high protein. They are truly delicious and can be a lifesaver on a rough day. I order from their balance website, so I can purchase just a few meals and not an entire meal plan as seen on their traditional site.
Here’s to eating well regardless of time, stress, or situation! Frozen can be healthy too, thank goodness for that!