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To Freeze or Not to Freeze

To Freeze or Not to Freeze

The dietary guidelines for Australians recommend that we choose plenty of fruit and vegetables for good health. With the busy lives that we lead these days, sometimes this can be easier said than done! The good news for health conscious consumers is that frozen vegetables are a nutritious alternative for the busy cook. Frozen vegetables are pre-washed, peeled and sliced or diced so they require little preparation and cook quickly.

Freezing can be a very efficient method of maintaining the nutrient content, flavour and texture of many vegetables. Although there may be small losses of some vitamins during blanching and commercial freezing, these losses are similar to those that occur with the cooking of fresh vegetables. Some vitamins such as carotene, a compound converted to vitamin A in the body, may actually be better preserved during the freezing process. Some studies have even suggested that frozen vegetables may even be more nutritious then fresh, particularly with out of season produce or that which is transported large distances. An Austrian study found that imported vegetables are likely to have lost important vitamins and minerals during the transport process while frozen vegetables are more likely to have been harvested, then frozen immediately. The same study found that the vitamin content of frozen cauliflower was significantly higher than those found in imported fresh vegetables. This study emphasizes the importance of buying local produce in season or looking for alternatives such as frozen vegetables. It seems that so long as frozen vegetables are stored and cook properly, the evidence suggests they are a suitable alternative to fresh varieties. For the purpose of your Eating Plan however you must thaw them completely before weighing. Or if you are going to freeze your own vegetables, weigh them before you freeze them.


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