At Harry’s Country Kitchen, we are proud to deliver a wide selection of delicious frozen meals to customers across the UK. But while it may be a cost-effective and convenient option, is frozen food good for you?
Keep reading for a closer look at the nutritional benefits of frozen food. We explore the freezing process, the importance of quality ingredients and the elements of a balanced diet to find out whether frozen food is good for you.
The ‘quick-freezing’ process
Previously, we delved into the history of frozen food, including the commercialisation of the quick-freezing process by Clarence Birdseye in the 1920s. While the technology has evolved since then, the process of exposing fresh food to temperatures of around -40C has essentially remained the same.
In terms of nutrition, this means that the goodness of the food is 'locked in' at the point of freezing – which we’ve looked at in more detail in this guide: Are Frozen Vegetables Good For You? Vegetables (and fruits) are frozen soon after harvesting before they start to break down and lose their nutritional value, so we get to enjoy their natural goodness for several months after they are picked.
Other types of frozen foods and frozen meals are also subjected to this same quick-freezing process. This preserves the quality, taste and texture for us to enjoy for up to a year after freezing.
Quality is important for frozen food too. As we have seen, fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak and quickly frozen to preserve not only their nutritional content but their freshness and quality.
On the other hand, fresh produce is often picked before it is ripe to account for the time it takes to transport it to its final destination. This means that by the time it reaches the supermarket shelves, it is not always at its best.
Similarly, when buying frozen meat, fish and ready meals, the quality is paramount to ensure we eat a healthy and balanced diet. Things to look for include sustainably sourced fish, lean meat and ready meals which include a good nutritional balance.
As with fresh food, we can make good or bad choices about what frozen food we consume. So, for frozen food to be good for our health, we have to consider the elements of a nutritionally balanced diet.
What is a balanced diet?
We are often told to eat a balanced diet, but what does this really mean? While it is important to note that we all have different dietary needs, generally a balanced diet involves plenty of variety, sensible portion control and consuming some things in moderation. A few elements of a balanced diet include:
Fruits and vegetables
The general advice is to eat at least five portions of different fruits and vegetables each day. This can include things like beans and pulses, as well as canned, dried and frozen fruits and vegetables.
Try: Vegetable Lasagne
Our target should be to consume 30g of fibre a day and there are lots of ways to up our intake, including consuming more wholewheat and wholegrains, as well as eating a diet rich in foods like beans, lentils, oats, fruits and vegetables.
Try: Chilli Con Carne (7.5g of fibre per pack)
The recommendations for protein intake vary by body weight but are on average 45g for women and 50g for men per day. Protein is needed for important functions including building muscle. Good sources include beans, pulses, fish, eggs and lean meat.
Try: Turkey Dinner (20.7g of protein per pack)
Foods containing dairy, such as cheese and milk, are recommended in moderation as part of a balanced diet as they contribute to our protein intake. Dairy is also a good source of calcium, which is important for bone health.
It is important to include some fat in our diet, but it is recommended to limit the amount of saturated fat we consume to 20g a day. This is the maximum limit, not a target. High levels of saturated fat can increase our cholesterol levels, which can contribute to heart disease.
Try: Vegetarian Chilli (1g of saturated fat per pack)
Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet. However, it is important to consider the source, as this food group includes healthy things (such as rice and pasta) and less healthy “sugary” foods (such as cakes and biscuits). A maximum of 30g of added sugar per day is the recommended amount.
Try: Chicken Roast Dinner (7.2g of sugar per pack)
The recommended maximum daily intake of salt is 6g. However, this is one of the more difficult elements of a balanced diet to control as salt is added to many types of food. Too much salt can contribute to heart and circulatory diseases.
Try: Sweet and Sour Chicken (1.1g of salt per pack)
Frozen food as part of a balanced diet
Now that we’ve seen that frozen food is good for our health, it can be a great way for us all to help achieve a balanced diet. For more information on this topic, take a look at this guide: What is the Healthiest Frozen Meal?
Regularly shopping for and cooking fresh produce, lean meats and fish can present a challenge for busy families and people with mobility issues. Meanwhile, planning a nutritious and varied diet for a solo household can be difficult. For all of us, there is also the issue of portion control.
Stocking the freezer with a selection of high-quality, pre-portioned frozen meals can provide a simple solution to enjoying a tasty and nutritionally balanced diet throughout the year. And this isn’t the only benefit of frozen food.
Enjoy nutritionally balanced meals with Harry’s Country Kitchen
At Harry’s Country Kitchen, we deliver a wide range of high-quality main meals and sides across the UK. We use high-quality ingredients from British suppliers and ensure our meals provide a good nutritional balance. We invite you to explore our range and try our meals for yourself!
Order online today, with next-day delivery available. You can also download our brochure or contact us on 0800 029 3263.