What if you could get lean, boost your antioxidant intake, and save money—all at the same time? This produce grocery list will help you do all of the above. Stock your freezer with these 11 frozen fruits and vegetables.
At just 59 calories per ear, corn is packed with fiber, antioxidants, and B vitamins. It's also a great source of carotenoids like lutein, which protect your eyes from macular degeneration—one of the leading causes of blindness in adults. You can add corn kernels to your salad, soup, or black bean salsa, or sauté them with finely chopped jalapeño, cilantro, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese for Mexican esquites (that's "toasted corn" to you, Gringo). Or enjoy the whole ear—just skip the butter.
Steamed broccoli helps lower cholesterol and detoxifies the body. It's also a good source of fiber to aid in digestion, kaempferol to fight inflammation, and vitamins K and A to ward off vitamin D deficiency. Toss some florets with whole-wheat pasta or orzo; use them in morning omelets; or stir-fry with thinly sliced sirloin, finely chopped garlic, and low-sodium soy sauce for a quick weeknight dinner.
3. Green Beans
Rich in eye-protecting phytonutrients, green beans also help your bones stay strong, thanks to their high concentration of silicon. Use them in a classic Niçoise salad made with omega-3-packed tuna and potatoes, or sauté them with sliced garlic, cherry tomatoes, and red pepper flakes for a spicy low-cal side.
This cruciferous veggie helps reduce the risk of cancer, particularly prostate, bladder, and colon cancers. Chop in the food processor, then microwave in a covered dish for an alternative to rice; or purée with fennel seeds to make a dip or soup.
5. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts help lower cholesterol and protect your DNA, plus they have anti-cancer benefits. For an easy prep option, just throw them on a sheet pan with a little olive oil and chopped garlic, then roast at 400° for 35–40 minutes.
Packed with cancer-reducing antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, spinach is also a rich source of iron. You can add chopped spinach to lasagna, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, or any sauce or soup to add flavor and nutrients.
7. Winter Squash
This vegetable is like a multivitamin on your plate, protecting you from a host of ills. Top puréed winter squash with cinnamon and maple syrup for a cold-weather treat, or for a more savory soup, blend squash, low-sodium broth, and sautéed onion.
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene—a form of vitamin A that's great for your vision—as well as heart-healthy antioxidants. You can throw frozen carrots (right out of the bag) into stews and soups. If you prefer them tender, do it early in the cooking process; for more crunch, add them near the end.
A cup of blueberries has just 71 calories but packs six grams of fiber, and it's hard to believe just how much cancer-fighting power is jammed into such a small superfruit. Keep them on hand to boost the flavor and nutrients in your protein shakes, or add frozen blueberries to hot oatmeal.
These fruits are high in calcium, potassium, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Add some peaches to cottage cheese for a high-protein, low-carb post-workout snack, or whip up a simple—but healthy—dessert. Just bake one with cinnamon and a touch of agave, then top with low-fat frozen yogurt. Done and done.
Research links cherries' red color—provided by the fruit's powerful anthocyanins—to a reduction in inflammation, total cholesterol, and belly fat. To work frozen cherries into your diet, just defrost a cup and put them on top of plain Greek yogurt.
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The supermarket can paralyze your mind. Too many decisions come into play within the aisles. Paper or plastic? Self-checkout or cashier? No-frills generic or brand name? Fresh or frozen? In the latter quandary, fresh produce is seemingly the safer bet, but don't ice out frozen fruits and vegetables just yet.
Studies by IFR Extra have shown that produce can lose up to 45% of its essential nutrients during the journey from farm to table—a period that can last as long as 16 days. These berries, melons, tomatoes, and greens can be exposed to pesticides, extreme heat, and light during transport, further compromising their freshness and nutritional value.
By contrast, most frozen fruits and vegetables are promptly blanched, boiled, or steamed, and then frozen within hours of being picked, a process that helps lock in both fresh taste and nutritional value. Frozen produce is also available year-round, and in most cases is cheaper than fresh. It's high time, then, to stock your freezer with these under-appreciated nutritional powerhouses.