Frozen food has come a long way from the chewy and shrunken chicken fried TV dinners of the 50s (and popular again in the time-saving 80s). Starting with wholesome and fresh ingredients, freezing nowadays serves more as nature's pause button, slowing the degradation of vital nutrients. If you're purchasing pre-made for convenience, frozen may be the closest to homemade you can get. Perhaps it's no accident that March is not just National Frozen Food Month, but also National Nutrition Month...
The research findings on frozen foods are finally catching up to the innovation out there. Check out what's really going on with frozen foods:
1. Frozen food can sometimes contain more nutrients than fresh produce.
While fresh produce is full of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, especially when consumed right away, leaving a ripe apple in your crisper for days on end may cause oxidation of all that goodness. If you don't think you'll eat that fresh produce in a day or two, frozen may help optimize your nutrient intake of the same frozen food and decrease waste. In a recent study, the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis found frozen fruits and vegetables to contain the same value, if not outperform fresh-stored produce in many cases, with higher levels of vitamins and folates.
2. Food that's frozen doesn't automatically contain a bunch of preservatives.
Especially today, when we know sulfites, nitrites, and other preservatives may cause harmful side effects or increase the likelihood of certain inflammatory diseases. Preservatives and additives cause enzymatic reactions similar to those that occur as food naturally degrades, leading to loss of color, nutrients, and flavor – even when frozen. That's just what preservatives are meant to delay! But companies are catching up with the research. For example, we made CAULIPOWER to provide a naturally more nutritious and gluten-free pizza that ditched all the powders and chemicals often found in other gluten-free alternatives. Additives in gluten-free foods typically help them taste less like cardboard, so we made it simpler and tastier by making real, delicious cauliflower the base of all our products. No additives, no accelerated breakdown of powerful nutrients.
3. Frozen food may be more nutritious than "healthy" fast food.
There are many fast options these days that boast natural, healthier ingredients, but the numbers to watch are sodium and fat content. The way these healthier fast foods are prepared may boost those numbers beyond many pre-made frozen foods. CAULIPOWER contains less than half the sodium and fat of many other frozen pizzas (and fast food pies!) - so check the label. Fast food and frozen food are both convenient, but one may be more nutritious than the other.
4. Frozen food is more affordable than ever.
If you're grabbing lots of pre-made meals, you're going to run a grocery tab higher than if you opt for single ingredients - fresh or frozen. But, pre-made meals can be a much healthier and more cost-effective alternative to take out and dining out, when time and convenience are your grocery list deciding factors. You get to investigate the ingredients and nutritional info more closely, and you save on all the additional fees associated with delivery and tips. Frozen food may save you money at the end of the week, so you can splurge on that beautifully decadent Friday night on the town.
5. Freezing doesn't kill all bacteria, and you can't safely store frozen foods forever.
Frozen food still degrades, but at a slower rate than foods kept fresh. Most frozen food should still be eaten within a few months and always prepared to recommended internal temperatures for optimum nutrition and safety. For example, freezing chicken renders the bacteria inactive, however, salmonella is still a very real concern after defrosting. The only way to safely consume poultry is to cook to 165°F.
If you're scared of the freezer aisle, we get it - there's a lot of lingering myths. But, if you read nutritional labels and choose what's best for your schedule and budget, pre-made frozen pizzas, especially those made primarily from highly nutritious superfoods, like CAULIPOWER, may be the best way to get the nutrition you need without grocery shopping every day.