Whether bought as a side dish or forming part of a ready meal, frozen vegetables seem like a convenient and cost-effective way to help us reach our recommended “five a day” fruit and veg.
The key question here is: "Is frozen veg healthy?" The good news is that frozen vegetables retain nutrients similarly to fresh ones, as freezing preserves their nutritional value. Fresh produce begins losing nutrients after picking, but freezing immediately maintains their quality.
Read on as we dive deeper into this topic and offers some guidance on how to ensure the meals we eat are nutritionally balanced.
What nutrients do we get from vegetables?
It is recommended we eat at least five portions of different fruits and vegetables each day, but why? The main reason is that fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and potassium. While we can take supplements (and in some cases, this is recommended by a doctor), for most of us, eating a balanced diet which includes natural sources of vitamins and minerals is generally preferable.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are a good source of other dietary elements, such as fibre, as well as being naturally low in fat and calories. As such, they can help us to stay healthy and reduce the risk of developing some health conditions. Of course, not all fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional content, which is why eating a variety each day is important.
Are frozen vegetables as good as fresh?
There are lots of reasons why people are unable to eat five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. If you have mobility issues, a busy lifestyle or simply live far away from the shops, stocking the fridge and fruit bowl with fresh items can be a challenge. Likewise, for single households, it may not be cost effective to buy fresh produce that might become uneatable before it gets used up, increasing food waste.
Stocking your freezer with high-quality ready meals which contain a portion or two of vegetables is a great solution. They can be stored for longer periods, so you can use what you need without worrying about waste.
However, while frozen meals and vegetables are convenient, the question often arises: "Are frozen vegetables good for you?"
The good news is that the freezing process locks in the nutrients, so frozen vegetables are comparable to fresh when it comes to nutrition. Fresh fruit and vegetables start to lose their nutrients once picked, so if they are frozen right away, their goodness is retained. Factors including how produce is stored and prepared also affect how far fresh and frozen veg is healthy.
What counts as a fruit or vegetable?
It may seem like an obvious question, but when planning and enjoying a balanced diet, it is useful to understand what counts as a fruit or vegetable. Indeed, there are some surprising foods that help us to reach our five a day. However, not all are equal in terms of their dietary benefits. For example, while fruit juices and smoothies count, the high sugar content means that it’s wise to limit our intake.
Some surprising entrants in the list of fruits and vegetables include beans and pulses (yes, even baked beans!) and tomato sauce and tomato paste. Just as frozen veg is healthy enough to count, canned and dried fruit and vegetables contribute to your five a day. Again, it is important to be mindful of the sugar and salt content.
One item missing, however, is the humble potato. While it may be a vegetable, the high starch content means it does not have sufficiently high nutritional content to make the cut when it comes to our five a day. However, they are a good source of energy, fibre, B vitamins and potassium, so are still good to include in our diet.
How much is a portion?
As well as knowing what counts towards the five a day, it’s important to know how much. Understanding portion size allows us to get the nutrients we need without compromising our other dietary considerations. For example, due to their sugar content, the government suggests we consume no more than 150 millilitres of fruit juices and smoothies per day (this is equivalent in size to a can of Coke).
It is also encouraging when you realise that a portion size of fruit and veg is quite modest, at just 80 grams. Indeed, only three heaped tablespoons of peas counts as one portion. As frozen and fresh veg are similar in terms of nutrition, the amount you need to eat is the same. Other portion sizes include three heaped tablespoons of carrots or beans/pulses and two broccoli spears. Around 1.5 tablespoons of tomato paste counts as a portion.
Enjoy nutritionally balanced meals from Harry’s Country Kitchen
At Harry’s Country Kitchen, we take great care to bring you frozen meals which are tasty and also contribute in a positive way to your dietary requirements. Browse our options and you will see many of our frozen meals contain vegetables, boosting the nutritional content. For example:
Chicken Roast Dinner: Along with succulent meat, roast potatoes and gravy, our chicken roast dinner is served with a helping of sliced carrots and garden peas.
You may be surprised to learn that the roast dinner is actually Britain’s most popular meal.
Vegetable Lasagne: This hearty meal includes layers of pasta with aubergines, red peppers and courgettes, all in a tomato sauce, with cheese and béchamel sauce.
Vegetarian Chilli: Enjoy our flavourful vegetarian chilli, which contains a generous serving of soya mince and kidney beans blended with a tomato sauce.
Chicken Chow Mein: This delicious dish comprises chicken strips and noodles in a chow mein sauce, with a combination of red and green peppers, carrot and onion.
Want to find out more about frozen food? Take a look at these advantages and benefits!
Fill your freezer with ready meals packed with vegetables!
Explore our full range of high-quality frozen meals and sides and place your order today. Our meals are delivered direct to your door oven ready, so all you need to do is heat and enjoy. And don't forget - Harry's is now national!
You can also download our brochure or contact us on 0800 029 3263.