If you think frozen vegetables are less healthy or lower quality, think again. Many frozen vegetables are just as healthy or even healthier than fresh vegetables. Heat and light destroy nutrients in fresh vegetables once they are picked. For example, green beans lose about 75% of their vitamin C content after sitting in a refrigerator for one week. On the other hand, frozen vegetable are able to preserve a majority of their nutrient content due to flash freezing immediately after picking.
Also, frozen vegetables are a great option for meal planning during the colder winter months when many fresh vegetables are typically more expensive. You may notice that during the winter months there is a reduced amount of variety of fresh vegetables. Purchasing frozen vegetables is a great option for continuing to meet your dietary recommendations. The American Dietetic Association recommends buying frozen vegetables that contain no added salt, sugar, fats, and sauces. The added sugar, fat, and sauces will increase calories significantly in frozen vegetables.
Frozen vegetables can be a healthy and inexpensive option for many recipes instead of using fresh vegetables. Remember, you can get the most out of your money by only buying frozen vegetables that are on sale. Inexpensive frozen vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, collards, carrots, sweet potato, peas, squash, turnip greens, onions, and okra. Below are two simple recipes using frozen vegetables.
Veggie Chow Mein
6 ounces Rice noodles or thin flat egg noodles
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, grated
2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 cup chopped frozen broccoli, thawed
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green or red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 teaspoon of low-sodium soy sauce
u Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
u Sauté onions and garlic with non-stick spray in a frying pan for 1 minute over medium/high heat.
u Add carrots, chicken bouillon and pepper sauce and stir.
u Add broccoli, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir.
u Reduce heat to low and add noodles and soy sauce. Mix well over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes
u Add salt and pepper to taste
Nutrient Analysis per Serving: Calories 70; Total Fat 1g; Saturated Fat 0g; Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 180mg; Total Carbohydrates 15g; Dietary Fiber 2g; Protein 3g
Southwestern Cole Slaw
1/2 to 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped
4 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup thin strips of red bell peppers or roasted red peppers
1 cup of frozen yellow corn, thawed
4 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tablespoon of cider vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry leaf oregano
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
u Combine in a small bowl all salad dressing ingredients and mix well. In a large bowl mix shredded cabbage, green onion, red peppers and corn. Add salad dressing and toss well. Cover and chill for about 1 hour prior to serving.
Nutrient Analysis per Serving: Calories 76; Total Fat 3.1g; Saturated Fat 0.3g; Cholesterol mg; Sodium 207mg; Total Carbohydrates 12g; Dietary Fiber 3g; Protein 2g