More often than not, fresh fruits and vegetables are NOT in season locally. As such, we have a few options:
1. Buy produce shipped from half way around the world where it is in season; or
2. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables.
But, which is the better choice? Here are some studies and points to help you make the healthiest choice.
For many environmental reasons, buying produce from another continent is not a great choice. In addition, produce that has had to travel long distances to make it to your grocery store contains fewer nutrients – the instant a fruit or vegetable is picked it starts to break down and lose some nutritional value. In other words, buy local whenever possible.
When That’s Not Possible
Oh, now wait! I’m not suggesting you don’t eat produce that is from other countries – it’s a great choice (particularly when the alternative is you choosing to eat another serving of potatoes). A rainbow on your plate is important. However, I do want to suggest that you consider frozen fruits and vegetables when the produce aisle is looking grim.
“Frozen” Great Option
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2015), fruits and vegetables that are frozen have as much (and at times more) nutrients than fresh.
What about pre-packaged fresh produce?
I ran across an interesting trade article discussing this. They mention that a 2013 study suggests that pre-packaged fresh produce may have fewer nutrients than frozen – the fresh produce suffers from degradation over its time from preparation, to shelf-time, to your plate. In other words, that bag of cut apples your kids love likely contain fewer nutrients than you think. More on how to feed your kids on the go.
This article originally appeared on AllisonTannis.com.
Image via U.S. Department of Agriculture