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Fresh or Frozen? Enjoy Both!

Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team

Expand the possibilities of your palate and wallet.

Fresh gives you the luxury to prepare food in any form you like. Whereas frozen may require a little bit of warming up and cooking.

For fruits and vegetables, fresh choices may offer greater options for sensory stimulation—such as biting into a crispy carrot or a crunchy apple.


Mistakenly, many individuals believe the nutrient content of fresh food is always superior to frozen. Not necessarily. Nutrient content is affected by how a food is handled and how quickly it is consumed. Frozen fruits and vegetables are traditionally picked at the peak of freshness and immediately flash frozen. This process allows for very little nutrient loss from aging or storage. Fresh fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, may have a longer duration between harvest and plate. How adequate the storage was during this time will affect a food’s nutrient loss.


Preparation affects the fate of a food’s nutrients, too. Boiling or overcooking foods like fruits and vegetables can quickly break down powerful antioxidants and important water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C. Therefore, pay attention to how your food is prepared. Do your part to maintain nutrient content as much as possible.


Additionally, consider the amount of processing a food undergoes before reaching your plate. Fresh typically offers you foods in their most basic state. Whereas frozen could have added salt, sauce, sugar, spices and herbs for flavor. This doesn’t mean you should pass on frozen items. Rather, be diligent about reading ingredients. With a large amount of frozen food available, you can find items to meet both your nutrition goals and culinary needs.


How economical is it to buy only fresh if you don’t finish eating the food before it goes bad? You end up throwing away a lot of money. Instead, let frozen items be the unsung heroes of managing your weekly food dollars. Mix it up! Buy a variety of fresh and frozen to expand your buying power week after week.


Nothing is more essential to feeling great and living well than eating a healthful, balanced meal plan. Luckily, this doesn’t bind you to eating just fresh options. Buy both fresh and frozen foods so your health and bank account both reap the greatest rewards.

Reviewed 3/20/2023