Best and Worst Foods from the Frozen Section
Now that it’s summertime we are all going to find ourselves cruising down the freezer aisles more often. Most likely we will be perusing the sweet treats like ice cream and popsicles, but while you’re there you may be interested in snatching up some other meal options as well. Here are a few tips on the best and worst choices in the freezer section.
Best freezer food options
The freezer aisle is a great place to pick up vegetables. They are often less expensive than fresh and still pack lots of nutrients. Many may have heard that the freezing process eliminates many nutrients and while this may sometimes be true, frozen veggies are better than no veggies and there are a few steps you can take to decrease nutrient loss. Try steaming instead of boiling or microwaving your vegetables. Lots of the good nutrition is lost in the water used to boil or microwave and then quickly dumped down the drain. When you use a steamer, the vegetables are cooked with the steam from the hot water, leaving more nutrients inside the food itself. You can find a vegetable/rice steamer at any store that sells kitchen gadgets or place a small strainer over boiling water. Most vegetables take less than 10 minutes to steam once the water is boiling.
Packed with loads of protein and no carbohydrates, fish is an awesome addition to any diet. Try to choose fish that has little to no breading or seasoning on it and then let yourself be the chef! I love spraying a little olive oil, and topping with my favorite seasonings such as dill or rosemary to give it a fresh taste! Lemon juice is also a great addition to any fish dish. Just bake according to package and enjoy! Even shrimp are a great option.
As a person with diabetes you may choose not to add much fruit to your diet. But if you do, consider buying in the frozen section. That way you don’t have to worry about it spoiling. Also, berries actually increase their antioxidant value when heated so if you add them to your favorite breakfast you will get an extra nutrient punch! They are also often less expensive and make a great addition to cold smoothies, often negating the need for ice.
Worst freezer food options
Many of the single serve dinners on the market have been formulated to include vegetables and even complex carbohydrates such as black beans. But keep in mind that if something was made to be stored in the freezer for a long period of time it will contain a lot of sodium. Consuming a diet high in sodium increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Check labels on all meals before purchasing to be sure there isn’t an overabundance of sodium.
Vegetables in butter or cream sauce
There are so many frozen vegetable side dish options that it can be a bit overwhelming. Try to avoid buying vegetables that come in a butter or cream sauce, as these will also be high in sodium and even saturated fat. It is important to watch saturated fat intake as it too can lead to heart disease. If you must have a sauce on your vegetables try buying plain and then making your own so that you know exactly what is going into it. Even an olive oil-based butter may be a great option to add some extra flavor!
Tips to remember
- Opt for plain vegetables, fish, even fruit
- Avoid processed freezer meals, or vegetables loaded with sauces