ICE, ICE BABY:
The Healthy Side to Frozen Food
Fresh or frozen? On the one hand, us Brits widely regard fresh food as nutritious and healthy, far superior to frozen food which is believed to be packed full of preservatives and other nasties. But should we take these beliefs with a pinch of salt? Is frozen food actually “the bad egg” we all believe it to be?
What were the findings?
Based on a study of 2,000 people, they found that 12% don’t think frozen food can form part of a healthy diet – something which Laura was keen to disprove once and for all. She describes how freezing fruit and veg actually helps lock in nutrients and vitamins, meaning that in some cases they retain more than fresh. Laura also states that it’s possible to freeze virtually any food – the only exceptions being eggs and vegetables with a high water content as these can go mushy when defrosted.
Find out which other myths she busted in our video below:
Why should we be incorporating frozen food into our diets?
Frozen food isn’t actually chockful of preservatives like many people think. The simple reason? Ice is nature’s preservative, so there’s no need to chuck in chemicals to help prolong its shelf life. In a similar vein, although one third of survey participants assume that frozen food is stuffed with salt, research highlights that it doesn’t contain any more salt than fresh food.
Stocking up on frozen fruit and veg not only makes meeting your five a day as easy as pie but it also means fewer outings to the supermarket per week and therefore is less expensive. If a couple of bags of frozen berries or stir fry mixes can last you a week or two, that’s a lot more economical than having to nip to the shops every other day.
It lasts a long time
We have a big problem with waste in this country and many of us are making a concerted effort to try and steer clear of plastic packaging. But what about food waste? The good thing about frozen food is that it lasts a long time and we don’t end up throwing so much away. How many times have you gone to the fruit bowl and found a rotting banana or a mouldy apple lying at the bottom? We could easily minimise this waste by incorporating more frozen fruit and veggies into our diets.
What are some healthy frozen food freezer must-haves?
Aside from providing you with one of your five a day, frozen berries make a great addition to any household. Sprinkle them on yoghurt or add them to your cereal or pancakes for a healthy, nutritious snack which is low on cost but high in nutrients.
Gone to the cupboard and realised there’s no bread? Haven’t we all! Keeping bread and rolls in the freezer is a fool-proof way of ensuring you never run out of toast or sandwich options. Supermarket loaves very often don’t have a long shelf life (and if they do, they’re probably full of preservatives) so it’s normal to eat half a loaf and then throw the rest away once specks of mould start to appear. We can combat this by buying several quality loaves at a time and freezing them, pulling out slices when and if we need them.
Whether you opt for a bag of mixed vegetables or simply a pack of peas or spinach, frozen veggies can often become your week-night saviour if you realise you desperately need to go shopping but can’t stomach scouring supermarket aisles at 7pm. Like with frozen berries, you can stock up on a couple of bags of veggies for an affordable price and they’ll last you weeks!
Rice & Beans
Rice and beans can require quite a lengthy cooking process, so the next time you make your favourite paella or risotto, make sure you batch cook it and freeze the portions you’re not going to eat immediately. That way, there’s no need to slave over a hot stove after work; simply defrost a portion in the microwave and you’re ready to go! Elly Pear’s Let’s Eat has a fabulous section called Freeze for Ease: five basic bulk recipes that can be frozen as individual portions each have five options for easily turing in to fabulous, healthy meals. A fantastic way to use your freezer!
So there you have it – frozen food isn’t necessarily the baddie many of us thought it was!
We hope we’ve given you a lot of food for thought regarding the health benefits and practical uses of frozen food, but if you’re looking for further inspiration for affordable, long-lasting meal ideas, check out Birds Eye’s frozen food range.