Frozen foods are often referred to as being unhealthy. But the truth is that there are various frozen food items that you can consume on a daily basis, without facing any adverse consequences for your health. In fact, the nutritional values of frozen items are at par with their fresh counterparts; as freezing foods prevent the growth of the bacteria or other microorganisms, and also ensures that the nutrients are retained in the food itself.
So here are some tips to choose your favorite healthy frozen meals, which you can purchase and store for a prolonged period of time, and enjoy whenever you wish:
Buying frozen poultry items
Chicken items are purchased on a regular basis by most households. Most chicken items are stored in your freezer for a week or so. If you want to buy frozen poultry items, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Opt for the best brands that you can trust.
- The packaging of the frozen poultry items should be perfect, without any leakages or rips in the pack.
- The items must be clean and chilled.
- The vendor from whom you are buying the items must have poultry cases in the refrigerator to store the food items.
- The items should be frozen solid, like a rock.
- The items should be within the expiry date. You need to check this properly and confirm with the store manager/vendor.
- Make sure that after the purchase, the storekeeper wraps the poultry items separately in a lightweight packet, and doesn’t forget to close the container with a knot.
- If you have other items which are unpacked like fresh fruits and vegetables, always keep the poultry item aside.
- After purchasing the frozen poultry, and you take some of it from the container for use, don’t forget to freeze the remaining chicken or eggs within 30 minutes; otherwise bacteria formation might begin.
- Always keep track of the expiry date, and use the poultry item as soon as possible.
- Loosen the knot or the packaging inside the freezer, so that air can circulate among the food items to keep them fresh.
Choosing Frozen Vegetables and fruits
Frozen fruits can make for the perfect healthy frozen dinners. At the very least, it can be used as a salad, or in a dessert. The following is what you need to look for while buying these frozen fruits and vegetables:
- You must check for “flash-frozen” on the packaging of the frozen fruits or vegetables.
- They must be packed without any syrup or salts in them.
- You must avoid any frozen fruits or vegetables which are already mixed with items like cheese or sauce, etc.
- Always look for the resealable packaging bags, so that you can use the stored fruits properly when at home. This also prevents the formation of the ice crystals on the fruits and vegetables.
- Always check the date of packaging and the expiry date.
- Try to use these items within a few weeks of purchase. Otherwise, their nutritional value will be lost, and they may rot as well.
Buying seafood for healthy frozen meals
Seafood is highly nutritious. And by freezing fish, both its taste and its nutritive value is better preserved. Here are some ways to choose the best-frozen seafood for your next meal:
- Check for the eco labels used on the packaging of the sea food. It describes the authentication of the food, which indicates whether you can trust the brand or not. Also, scrutinize other information and data on the packaging regarding the fish, and how it was sourced and frozen.
- Know the difference between these two labels- Frozen at Sea and Individually Quick-frozen. The former refers to a process wherein the fish is caught from a boat, and immediately filleted and frozen. These fish are more nutritious, due to the very small time-gap between capture and freezing. Individually Quick-frozen refers to fish that were frozen separately sometime after being caught.
- You need to thaw the fishes in your freezer separately to soften them. This applies irrespective of the type of fish. You must properly prepare the fish after thawing it so that you can benefit from its taste and nutritional value.
Buying frozen foods allows you to eat any seasonal vegetables or fruits throughout the year. If you are buying the right frozen foods, there will be no added preservatives, so their nutritional values are not altered. Moreover, frozen foods are cheaper than the canned or fresh food items, without there being any compromise in quality. Last but not the least, frozen foods reduce the accumulation of food waste, ensuring optimal usage of food.