People frequently dismiss the idea of frozen foods being better for you than fresh food. The boxes and bags of nutritional land mines found in the freezer aisle—goopy Hot Pockets, freezer-burned fish sticks, pizza buried under a tsunami of sodium—can easily blow up your diet. But it’s not all doom and gloom for frozen fare. Fresh produce that’s picked up and trucked or flown around the country loses nutrition and antioxidants. Freezing it slows the breakdown and helps maintain freshness.
In fact, multiple studies have found frozen foods to be just as good and usually better for you than fresh: In 2013, U.K. researchers found that about two-thirds of the frozen fruits and veggies they tested had more vitamin C and antioxidants (like polyphenols, lutein, beta-carotene, and anthocyanin) than refrigerated produce.
Another study out of the University of Georgia compared fresh and frozen strawberries, blueberries, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, spinach, and green peas from six grocery stores. Initial tests found both varieties had similar nutrition levels. The food was then stored—fresh in the fridge, frozen in the freezer (duh)—and tested again five days later. The fresh lost vitamins, mostly A and C, and folate.
So don’t be a fresh food-only snob. Jump into the deep freeze with these healthy recipes.