Virtually ever mother that has ever existed has said some version of the same sentence: Eat your vegetables or you won’t grow big and strong. And I’m here to tell you that we are absolutely right. Eat your vegetables, kids. But buying fresh produce isn’t always the best option. Instead, using frozen vegetables is a healthy and nutritious alternative to cooking with veggies from the produce section.
We’re not eating our veggies
A significant number of people struggle to eat the recommended amount of daily vegetables. Recommendations differ based on gender, age, and activity levels, so a 13-year-old girl might only need 2 cups of veggies per day compared to the 3 cups that a 30-year-old man needs.
Picture your refrigerator for a moment. Now imagine that the inside is stuffed full of enough fresh produce for everyone in your family for an entire week. Is there enough room? Can you keep it all fresh? Will you have to toss some and head back to the store to buy more?
Probably. Plus there’s a pretty small chance that you’re even buying enough vegetables in the first place. Most of us aren’t.
Frozen vegetables have high nutritional values
Yes, fresh vegetables are good for your health. But frozen veggies are a great alternative, and sometimes are even better.
Frozen vegetables are usually harvested when they are at the peak of freshness and have optimal nutritional values. After a quick blanching the vegetables are frozen and ready for you to use.
Fresh produce usually has to be shipped over long distances (even between countries). Even if they are picked when they are ripe, they tend to have a lower nutrient density than frozen vegetables. The same is true for unripe fruit that is shipped only to spend days sitting in the produce section.
That’s not to say that you should never eat fresh produce. But finding a good balance between fresh and frozen can help you consume all the vitamins and nutrients you need.
For convenience sake
So you’re not concerned about the nutritional quality of veggies. That’s cool. However, you may be one of the 90% of Americans who are experiencing at least some level stress. We’re stressed over work, school, raising kids, and the rising cost of living. We’re also stressed for time, which most of us seem to have too little of.
As of 2015, 66% of families in the U.S. had two working parents. Half of single moms are working full time.
We don’t have the time to come home and whip up miraculously nutritious meals from scratch. Using frozen vegetables is one of the best ways to skip the process of washing and chopping vegetables and get straight to cooking.
Plus you can roast, sauté, and even steam frozen veggies without having to thaw them.
Using frozen vegetables can be cheaper
Like most families, mine has experienced some ups and downs in the money department. There were so many times that we struggled to buy groceries when my kids were little. Even with WIC, getting enough food on the table was tough.
We lived on rice, beans, and frozen vegetables for long stretches of time. Buying fresh produce that might spoil wasn’t an option, because the money wasn’t there to purchase more.
We don’t struggle to buy groceries anymore. In fact we own a house, live in a great school district, and have access to fresh vegetables at a grocery store only ¼ of a mile away. And yet I still buy frozen vegetables because they’re affordable and help bulk up our family’s veggie intake.
You can still use fresh produce
I promise I’m not advocating for grocery stores to toss their fresh produce into the dumpster out back. First of all, the swarming flies would be terrible.
What I am advocating for is using frozen vegetables as a part of your regular diet. Whether you need a quick dinner solution, can’t always afford fresh produce, or just want to fit a little more nutrients into your life, frozen vegetables can help.