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Frozen vegetables and fruits can actually be more nutritious than fresh, since they’re packaged immediately after harvesting and the nutrients stay at their peak. Vegetables and fruits typically last for about eight months unopened in the freezer. Frozen meals can’t beat freshly made dishes for taste, but they’re good to have on hand when you don’t have the time or the energy to cook. They also, incidentally, may help people lose weight. In a recent study, researchers instructed adults to follow balanced, calorie-controlled diets. One group ate frozen entrées for two out of three of their daily meals; the other group chose their own foods. After eight weeks, the subjects in the first group lost more weight on average (12 pounds) than did those in the other one (8 pounds). The probable reason: Frozen meals took the guesswork out of proper portion sizes.
When I go grocery shopping with my clients, many assume that were going to skip the frozen food section altogether. The truth is, while Im a huge advocate for eating more fresh fare and fewer packaged products, there are some hidden gems in the freezer section that are worth a spot in your cartespecially if you need time-saving shortcuts to help you eat more healthfully (you know, those nights where you need to make something quick or youre ordering takeout!). Here are my top four picks, plus good-for-you ways to enjoy them.
You may be surprised to learn that frozen fruits and veggies may actually be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. Thats because the second produce is harvested, it begins to lose nutrients. Since frozen produce is typically iced close to the time its picked, and freezing preserves and possibly boosts antioxidants and nutrients, freezing essentially locks in good nutrition. Im such …
Avoid dishes that pack half a day’s worth of calories into one tray. Some can be 700 calories per serving, says Krieger. Monitor fat, too: Some meat lasagnas, say, can contain as much as 19 grams per serving (about 35 percent of your daily needs). While a vegetarian entrée may seem as if it’s automatically healthy, that’s not always the case. Some meatless dishes can contain excessive amounts of cheese, which is high in saturated fat and sodium.
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