Health: true or false?

Frozen vegetables can be healthier for you than fresh vegetables

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 March, 2015, 6:11am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 April, 2015, 1:01pm

Are frozen vegetables inferior to fresh vegetables?

The straight answer: No

The facts: We're told that fresh is always better. While that may apply to certain foods, when you're buying vegetables you might actually be better off buying the frozen variety, and here's why.

From broccoli and peas to carrots and cauliflower, frozen veggies are harvested and flash-frozen at the peak of their freshness. The freezing process locks in their vitamins and minerals, ensuring that they are still nutrient-rich by the time they get to you. In fact, some nutrition experts claim that frozen vegetables are nutritionally superior to fresh vegetables, because the latter is usually left on supermarket shelves for days at a time, causing their nutrient values to deteriorate. With frozen vegetables, on the other hand, you are pretty much guaranteed a nutritionally superior product until the pack is opened.

Another great reason to stock up on frozen veggies: dietitian Daphne Wu says they are sometimes cheaper than fresh ones. There are also no seasonal limitations with frozen vegetables, and they are convenient to use - the washing, trimming and cutting have been done for you; all you have to do is add them to your dish before cooking. Frozen vegetables can also be stored for longer with little change in their nutrient values or taste.

When buying frozen veggies, Wu says to look for whole and unprocessed varieties. Items such as frozen potato chips or stir-fry "kits" typically come with added oil, salt or sauces, and can turn an otherwise healthy dish into a calorie-laden or sodium-packed one. She also cautions against buying frozen lettuce, celery, cucumber and some gourds. These vegetables are water-rich and naturally crisp, and thawing them will only render them soggy and limp.