Do frozen foods have as much nutritional value as fresh foods?
MINNEAPOLIS -- March isn't just a month to celebrate basketball. You might not realize it is also Frozen Food Month.
Known for being cheaper and lasting longer, but is it as healthy as fresh food? Good question.
Physician assistant Natalie Ikeman says there's actually very similar nutritional value between frozen and fresh produce.
"But the longer it is out from the harvesting, that nutrient count really decreases quickly, so it really depends on when you eat that food," she said.
However, she said there is a difference between buying already frozen food and freezing it yourself.
"When you freeze a fruit, it's easily broken down and you lose that most unstable element like vitamin C," Ikeman said.
She says you're better off buying frozen fruit than freezing it yourself, to maximize its nutrients. Fresh vegetables retain nutrients better when tossed in the freezer.
It's hard to not make a healthy choice when it comes to produce in the coolers. Pre-made meals are another story altogether.
"The label is the key. Always looking at the label. Don't be swayed by the packaging," Ikeman said.
When you flip the box over, Ikeman says to first look at the protein amount. A higher number will help you feel full. Then check the sodium; experts suggesting 600 mg or less.
Make sure there's plenty of vegetables, and favor items with shorter ingredient lists.
Pre-made meals can also help with portion control if that's important to your diet.
Health aside, we often visit the frozen aisle for the convenience. The food is cheaper and lasts longer. Ikeman says, on occasion, it's fine to treat yourself to that frozen pizza.
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