Vegetables: Fresh vs Frozen

Cauliflower With A Basket On The Board

One of the big topics in my office lately has been the price of cauliflower – $8.99 or more in most stores. Yes, I believe in eating 7-10 fruits and vegetables but I’m in the same boat as the rest of you, I am on a budget and $8.99 for one head of cauliflower doesn’t quite fit in with that.

This doesn’t mean you have to go without cauliflower, consider frozen instead. Frozen vegetables are a quick and easy alternative to fresh veggies and often very reasonably priced and the good thing is they won’t end up in the compost if you don’t eat them by the end of the week.

If you’ve been down the frozen food aisle lately, you’ll notice that frozen vegetables now come in single-serve boxes, re-sealable bags or microwaveable bags that don’t even need to be opened before you steam your veggies in them.

These products are a great way to add fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A and valuable phytochemicals to your diet – particularly if you’re like the 41 percent of Canadians who find it hard to eat enough vegetables.

Despite their claims, frozen vegetables are not necessarily as nutritious as fresh. In terms of calories and fibre content, they are virtually equal, however, in vitamins C and A they do differ.

Frozen vegetables picked at the height of their flavour and nutritional value, blanched in hot water or steam to kill harmful bacteria, and then flash frozen at -40˚C in an effort to preserve their nutritional value. Some nutrient loss occurs in this process. Water-soluble vitamins, like vitamin C, are particularly vulnerable during blanching and freezing but I still believe that eating frozen vegetables is better than eating none at all.

In a recent review I found that the degree of nutrient loss varies greatly from brand to brand.

For example, one-half cup (125 ml) of Green Giant Valley Selections Cut Broccoli provides only 17.5 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C while the same sized serving Green Organic Broccoli Florets provides 50 percent. (One-half cup of fresh broccoli that’s been boiled and drained provides over 70 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement.)

On the plus side, beta-carotene (converted to vitamin A in the body) fares better in frozen vegetables than in fresh because this carotenoid is sensitive to light. As they’re always packaged, frozen vegetables have less exposure to light resulting in less destruction of beta-carotene.

For instance, one-half cup (125 ml) of Europe’s Best Chef’s Spinach provides 66 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A – roughly the amount of vitamin A in one and a half cups (375 ml) of fresh spinach.

While frozen vegetables are low in sodium, some seasoned vegetable blends, like Green Giants Essentials or Artic Garden’s Grill Mix, are loaded with up to 204 milligrams of sodium per one-half cup serving – something you definitely won’t find in fresh vegetables so watch out for that!

Also avoid frozen vegetables in a butter or cheese sauce as they can add calories and up to 380 milligrams of sodium to your plate. One-half cup (125 ml) of Green Giant’s Simply Steam Brussel sprouts with Butter Sauce contains more than four times the calories in frozen broccoli without the sauce!

So, when you are next at the grocery store and don’t like the look of the fresh produce prices, head over to the frozen aisle and grab your favourites from there. Keep an eye open, as you may even see me there too!

 

Melanie Grime is a holistic nutritionist at the Collective Health Clinic serving the Orangeville, Dufferin, Wellington and Caledon areas. Melanie Grime RHN treats everyone as an individual with their own specific needs and helps clients suffering from health issues by looking for the root cause of symptoms and working with them to reach their health and nutrition goals. She specializes in weight loss, hormonal issues, detox, meal plans, nutritional consulting and family nutrition.

Advertisements

Are You Eating For Illness or Wellness?

Green And Red Healthy Food

We have all heard the phrases ‘You are what you eat?’ ‘Don’t eat less, eat right’ just to quote a couple but have you ever really sat down and thought about whether you are eating for illness and wellness?

Today, there are many common dietary and lifestyle habits that over time can lead to illness. It may be the overuse of chemicals in the foods that we eat such as pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, artificial sweeteners to name just a few. It may be lack of exercise or the overeating of sugar, unhealthy fats or refined carbohydrates. It may also be a high stress lifestyle with no downtime and poor sleep. Regardless of the reason, there is only so much the body can take before symptoms begin to surface.

Unfortunately for many people it takes until the symptoms appear and beyond, before changes are made. Why is this? Many people have stressful & hectic lifestyles now with little time spent in the kitchen or focusing on their health and well-being. Sometimes it’s financial concerns or the fear of change or failure, even the worry about what other people think can be an influence.

If I could give only piece of advice to help shift your eating from illness to wellness it would be to eat more real food. If the majority of the food you eat comes out of a package or a bag that has an ingredient list then it may be time to rethink your diet. The grocery stores are getting bigger but they are filling their shelves with more food-like products and to reach optimal health this type of food needs to be reduced or eliminated.

Another aspect that should be considered is that we are all biochemically unique so a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t always work. Most nutritional guidelines are very general and as we all have very unique nutritional needs these guidelines may not be sufficient. This is why I work with each one of my clients to design a personalized plan that will specifically help them overcome their main health concerns or reach their goals.

Whether you are experiencing symptoms such as digestive issues, high cholesterol or have been diagnosed with a specific condition or if you just want to get healthier book a free 30 minute no-obligation ‘pick my brain’ session to see how I can help you on your journey to reach optimal health.

 

Melanie Grime is a holistic nutritionist at the Collective Health Clinic serving the Orangeville, Dufferin, Wellington and Caledon areas. Melanie Grime RHN treats everyone as an individual with their own specific needs and helps clients suffering from health issues by looking for the root cause of symptoms and working with them to reach their health and nutrition goals. She specializes in weight loss, hormonal issues, detox, nutritional consulting and family nutrition.