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Is Frozen Food As Healthy As Fresh Food?

Hillary Flynn
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Busy schedules and metropolitan areas far removed from the agricultural meccas where our ancestors once toiled have prompted the food industry to provide a solution to the gap in time between a ripened food being picked and the time it is placed on one's dinner plate. Their answer to this gap is frozen food. Fast and convenient, frozen food can be found in just about any home, but is frozen food as healthy as fresh food? The only accurate answers to this quandary is: it depends.

Certainly, fresh food tastes better and logically, it seems food in its most natural form would surely be healthier, but it's a bit more complicated than that. When food is picked as soon as it has ripened and is purchased straight from the farm, it is in its most nutritious state. However, the fruits and vegetables found in the produce section of a grocery store are usually picked before they have ripened. That's how food manufacturers keep them from spoiling during transport from farm to store. Each day that passes after food is plucked from the farm means the nutritive value has depleted a bit more.

However, if manufacturers intend to freeze foods, they allow them to ripen longer, then freeze them immediately after picking when they are at the peak of healthiness. The freezing process causes some loss of vitamins and minerals, but frozen food retains the remaining nutritive value for up to a year. Without testing individual foods, there is no way of knowing if the frozen berries or fresh berries in your local grocery store are the better choice.

There are a few rules to follow that will ensure the best outcome. If fruits and vegetables are in season, buy them fresh. Seasonal produce is more likely to come from local growers, thus shortening the transport time and lessening the depletion of nutrients. If out of season produce is desired, head to the frozen section. It's more likely a frozen food will be healthier than a fresh out of season item that has been transported from a great distance. Out of season produce can be up to two weeks old by the time it's purchased from a grocery store.

When preparing frozen vegetables it is best not to thaw them. Vegetables retain more vitamin C when cooked from their frozen state. Frozen fruits are usually good for up to 12 months, and frozen vegetables are good for 12 to 24 months. Whether fresh or frozen is selected, the best tip is just to eat a wide variety of both, because some vitamins and minerals are always better than none.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Hillary Flynn
By Hillary Flynn , Writer
Hillary Flynn's insatiable curiosity led her to join the The Health Board team, where she contributes well-researched articles on various topics. In addition to her work with The Health Board, Hillary manages an electronic publishing business that allows her to develop her skills in technical writing, graphic design, and business development. With a passion for satirical writing and traveling to historical places, Hillary brings a distinctive voice to her content.

Discussion Comments

By anon331523 — On Apr 23, 2013

In which form is the sodium in frozen foods added?

By ChessPlayer — On Aug 25, 2010

italy12- Many food companies are now trying to make frozen foods healthier and many are lowering the sodium in their products.

Many companies are also making frozen food from organic ingredients. Amy's is a good brand that makes healthy food made from organic ingredients. Amy's food can be quite expensive, so make sure that you try a product to make sure you like it before you buy a lot of it.

By italy12 — On Aug 25, 2010

Frozen food is not as healthy as fresh food in the fact that it has a lot of sodium. Frozen food manufacturers put a lot of sodium into the food to preserve it. One frozen food meal can contain up to 50 percent of your daily need for sodium.

Too much sodium can be bad for your health. It can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol. It can also lead to weight gain and water retention.

I advise only eating frozen food sparingly. Eat fresh food whenever possible. If you must eat frozen food, try to find food that is low in sodium. Also, stick with healthier frozen food brands such as Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones.

Hillary Flynn

Hillary Flynn


Hillary Flynn's insatiable curiosity led her to join the The Health Board team, where she contributes well-researched...
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