In just 3 years, U.S. citizens have spent over 53 billion dollars on frozen foods, making it one of the most popular food products on the market. But how safe this fan favorite, really?
We at Bright Side are all for convenience and ease but when it comes to our health, we are not willing to budge. We have made a list of foods — both safe and unsafe — from the frozen aisle to let you know what exactly you’re putting on you and your family’s plates. Be sure to read the extra bonus fact at the end of the article.
Not safe: freezer burned foods
If you see any freezer burn on a frozen food item, you should go ahead and toss it in the trash. Such a burn is an indication of the food not being stored properly. Through the freezing and unfreezing process the moisture from the food had escaped and formed crystals on the surface. This eliminates flavor, nutritional value and texture properties of the food.
Not safe: breaded fish
Yes, fish sticks save us from our children’s temper tantrums at the dinner table but consider this: mass-produced breaded fish contains loads of palm oil, raising agents and added salt and sugar. So, maybe switch to a homemade version next time?
Not safe: allergen-free food
We tend to lean toward gluten-free and zero calorie options in an attempt to have healthier food in our homes. However, those types of food when frozen, have a multitude of different additives, not to mention high levels of salt and sugar. You don’t always see the “sugar” in the ingredients or in the picture on the packaging. That’s because it can also be listed as “maltodextrin” and “dextrose” which are also sugars.
Not safe: chicken
Of all the kinds of meat, chicken may seem the least harmful, however, for our supermarkets, manufacturers can pump it up to 5 times its mass with water and additives. Water, when frozen will form crystals, ripping apart the structure of the meat. Along with all that, the additives are never great.
Not safe: pre-made pasta
We know — it’s tempting to grab a pre-made pasta dish from a rack at the store and have it hot and ready in a couple of minutes. But dried pasta takes literally under ten minutes to boil and then you can add anything you like instead of digesting palm oil, unhealthy fats, flour treatments, and preservatives manufacturers have put in your dinner.
Martha Stewart’s go-to vegetable for quick dishes is rich in ascorbic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and phosphorus, not to mention its protein value. And luckily, it is much cheaper and still perfectly safe to purchase in a frozen state since it doesn’t lose much in the freezing process.
Safe: green peas
To anybody who ever lost a ton of time peeling and preparing peas for a Thanksgiving dinner, this may come as a relief. Cooked frozen peas actually beat fresh ones in their levels of beta-carotene and lose just 10% of ascorbic acid during the process of freezing. So save yourself some precious time being with your family during the holidays.
Here’s the deal — yes, fresh spinach is lovely in a salad, yet, if you store it at room temperature, it will lose all of its ascorbic acid, a key healthy element. To fix this, simply use frozen spinach in dishes like pasta and cream spinach since when frozen, it only loses 30% of this acid.
On a chemical level, we love our raspberries since they contain a lot of phenolic compounds: an element, that is beneficial to people with chronic illnesses. And when frozen, the delicious berries seem to have more of this particular compound.
The queen of many tables across the country is corn! Corn can be a little pricey to purchase fresh. If you love corn though, you’ll be pleased to know that when frozen, it has higher levels of potassium and calcium than its fresh counterpart which is beneficial to a lot of people.
Bonus: the aesthetics of food
We can’t stress enough how unappetizing frozen food defrosted can look — and the looks are only half of the dissatisfaction. So, if you’re gonna go with it, at least dress it up a little.
We hope this little list will help you navigate the frozen food industry with more knowledge. And we are eager to know: which frozen foods are your go-to? And did you find anything particularly surprising on our list? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!