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Vegetables - Fresh, Frozen, or Canned?

Making vegetables an integral part of your diet decreases the chance of disease, improves vital body functions, and helps to lose weight.

There are 3 places at the grocery store where you will find vegetables:

  • the produce section

  • the freezer

  • the canned foods aisle.

It's true that fresh veggies are the prom queen of the grocery store, don't discount the other two options.

Let's talk about frozen vegetables first. Flash freezing is a technique by which a food is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for a brief time period. It freezes almost instantly. This technique allows vegetables to retain almost all their original nutritional values. Flash freezing has no effect on the calorie count, protein and carb levels, mineral levels, or amount of fiber. There is a very slight loss of vitamins, usually vitamin C, but it is negligible.

Almost all frozen vegetables sold these days are flash frozen, which is great from a nutrition perspective. Unfortunately, not all frozen vegetables retain their texture through the process. This should not be a problem though, if they are thrown into a stew or soup.

In some cases, a frozen product may be even more nutritious and tasty than a fresh one. Wintertime is a perfect example. Fresh produce is shipped from halfway around the world, after being picked prematurely to slowly ripen while on a plane and then a truck.

Alternatively, apples may be picked when ripe, months in advance, then stored in special warehouses until distributed to supermarkets in January and February. These "fresh" products are not as tasty and not as nutritious as fresh picked, not to mention that the frozen alternative is usually much cheaper.

Canned produce is another option to consider, but for many vegetables, high levels of sodium are a big issue. Salt is used both as preservative and flavor improver. before use, it's a good idea to wash canned produce in water to help reduce the sodium levels.

Bottom Line

Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh.

Supermarket Tips

Buy fresh when a product is in season. You can't match the flavor and the nutrients are at their peak. Otherwise, opt for frozen, a near perfect alternative. If you don't have a large freezer, a few cans of carrots peas and corn in the pantry can't hurt.

When buying frozen, look for one ingredient only - the veggie.

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