Dr. Joanna: Are Frozen Meals Healthy: Frozen vs Fresh
Does frozen food deserve a bad rap? I think that’s partly because of the rise of budget brand options flooding our super market freezers. There are many unhealthy foods to be found in the frozen food aisle such as ice cream, factory produced party pies and ultra-processed chicken nuggets to name a few, but to label all frozen food as processed or unhealthy is just not true. The truth is that utilising frozen foods in your home freezer can help you and your family achieve a healthier diet.
Here are 7 reasons why you should think differently about frozen foods:
- Thousands of Years of Food Preservations: Before freezers were invented, people living in colder parts of the world used or created ice caves as a kind of walk in freezer to preserve their food. It truly is a tried, tested and totally natural means of keeping our food safe to eat for longer.
- No Need for Preservatives: Freezing meals gives an impressively long shelf life without the need to add chemical preservatives. Check out the ingredients list on a refrigerated ready meal compared to a frozen meal – you’ll frequently find preservatives in the former, yet they are just not necessary in the frozen meal.
- More Nutrients: Freezing preserves most nutrients and in fact, often you’ll find levels of a nutrient such as vitamin C higher in frozen foods compared to fresh. That’s because nutrients that are easily destroyed by light, air and temperature can quickly diminish in fresh produce and refrigerated meals over several days. In contrast, fresh produce is frozen on the day it is picked and frozen meals are immediately frozen after making. This prevents further loss of nutrient levels.
- Antioxidants Packed: Antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds including carotenoids and polyphenols are well preserved with freezing, making it easier to boost your intake without the need to buy fresh foods and meals every few days.
- Long Shelf Life: Healthy frozen meals are convenient precisely because they have a long shelf life in your home freezer. This means that no matter how disorganised you are with your food shopping, you can always whip out and heat a meal in a flash.
- Reduces Food Waste: Utilising your freezer for both home cooked meals that can be frozen and purchasing any ready frozen meals helps to reduce food waste. Just think of how often you have forgotten about a ready meal or leftovers in your fridge and had to throw them out!
- Portion Control: Healthy frozen meals can help you to control your portions and ensure good nutrition. This is one of the things I love about the Dietlicious meals. The portions are balanced with weight control in mind, helping you to avoid over eating.