Monday, 17 March 2014 00:00

Frozen Foods - Good or Bad?

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Monday March 17 2014

I have been sharing this little "food tip" for months with my patients, and I'd like to share it with you too!  Have you ever tried to freeze a bag of strawberries or blueberries that you bought from the farmer's market only to have it all clump together into one big brick of strawberries or blueberries?  I have discovered the secret to freezing fruits/vegetables without them clumping together!  Wash the fruits and let them dry thoroughly.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Place the individual or cut up fruit/vegetable pieces evenly spaced out on the cookie sheet.  Put the cookie sheet into the freezer for about 30-60 minutes.  Throw everything into a big freezer ziploc bag.  And, voila!  Hopefully the weather will be warming up soon and you can buy lots of fresh fruits/vegetables from your local farmer's market and freeze to your heart's content!

 

4 Things to Look for in the Frozen Food Section

March 6, 2014 | By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

When I go grocery shopping with my clients, many assume that we’re going to skip the frozen food section altogether. The truth is, while I’m a huge advocate for eating more fresh fare and fewer packaged products, there are some hidden gems in the freezer section that are worth a spot in your cart—especially if you need time-saving shortcuts to help you eat more healthfully (you know, those nights where you need to make something quick or you’re ordering takeout!). Here are my top four picks, plus good-for-you ways to enjoy them.

Produce

You may be surprised to learn that frozen fruits and veggies may actually be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. That’s because the second produce is harvested, it begins to lose nutrients. Since frozen produce is typically iced close to the time it’s picked, and freezing preserves and possibly boosts antioxidants and nutrients, freezing essentially “locks in” good nutrition. I’m such a big fan of frozen fruits and vegetables, I wrote an entire post about them, 5 Reasons This Nutritionist Buys Frozen Produce, which also lists other key benefits of buying frozen. On super busy days, keeping these goodies on hand has allowed many of my clients to squeeze in produce they might have otherwise skipped. If you’re out of fresh fruit, just transfer unsweetened frozen fruit, like whole berries, to the fridge to thaw, then eat them cold, or add them to a dish like oatmeal or a parfait. Frozen veggies simply need to be steamed, then seasoned. One of my favorite tricks is to lightly toss them with a bit of jarred vegan pesto or olive tapenade. For example, broccoli with sundried tomato pesto is delicious, and voilà, you have a veggie side dish in mere minutes.

Whole Grains

A lot of my clients end up eating processed or refined grains at dinner because they’re too tired or hungry to boil water and wait for whole grains like wild rice to cook. Fortunately, frozen is now an option. I regularly buy pre-cooked frozen black barley, wild rice, and wheatberries. The only ingredient in the bags is the whole grain itself—that’s it (talk about clean eating). And because they’re fully cooked, they’re incredibly versatile. I can thaw them in the fridge to add to garden salads or chilled dishes, along with veggies and beans or lentils, then I toss the mixture with balsamic vinaigrette. I can also add them directly to recipes, like simple homemade soups, heat them to accompany a stir fry, or make a warm breakfast porridge.

Bread

If you scan the ingredient list on most shelf-stable breads, even whole grain versions, you’ll find stabilizers, preservatives, and other additives that make you think, “What is that?” Since freezing acts as a natural preservative, breads found in the freezer section don’t require those unwanted extras, so they often have ingredient lists that read like a simple, good old-fashioned recipe—just whole grains, water, yeast, and a little salt. Keep your loaves frozen and then thaw or toast one slice at a time. Spread with almond butter and cover with fresh fruit (or warmed up frozen fruit) at breakfast, or make a quick open-faced sandwich for lunch, topped with a healthy spread like avocado or hummus, along with lean protein and fresh veggies.

Seafood

When you think of frozen seafood, images of processed, breaded “mystery fish” sticks might come to mind. But these days you’ll also find sustainably sourced, additive-free options, like wild-caught filets of salmon, halibut, cod, and tuna, as well as frozen shrimp with only the addition of salt. These lean proteins can be tossed on the grill, baked, broiled, or sautéed. Simply season with fresh or dried herbs, a little lemon or lime, and avocado, then pair with veggies and a small portion of healthy starch, like wild rice or baked sweet potato, for an easy, breezy balanced meal.

 

You can find the original article HERE.

Read 57616 times Last modified on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 16:07
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