National Frozen Foods Month
March 21, 2014 — dietitian, food city, frozen food, nutrition, recipe
Wow…what an AMAZING time I had last week at the Food City 500! It was great seeing you all and I can’t wait to see you back at Bristol Motor Speedway in August for the Food City 300 and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying Night Races. I have FINALLY caught up on my nutrition schoolwork at East Tennessee State University to get back to blogging. So here we go! Like I have preached before, it is National Nutrition Month, but are you aware that it is also National Frozen Foods Month? Talk about great timing! Today, we are going to focus on the possible confusion of buying fresh or frozen vegetables.
Lets start out with the statistic from the World Health Organization stating that up to 2.7 million lives could be saved annually with sufficient fruit and vegetable consumption. That is a lot of people! Our lives are getting busier by the second and at times it is a challenge to prepare fresh vegetables. As a college student, I’m constantly on the go and searching for new ways to incorporate vegetables into my diet. What is an option that I love and use frequently? Frozen vegetables! According to the handy dandy Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, food suppliers freeze vegetables by blanching the product as soon as it is harvested. This blanching process is a heat treatment that is used to inactivate enzymes that are involved in the spoilage of fresh vegetables while keeping the majority of the antioxidant activity that we want in our foods to achieve optimal health. Very recent research from the Journal of Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies has also supported this fact.
Now that I just threw research and information your way, how can you check these facts? You can double-check my research by using the NuVal System in Food City stores! An independent panel of nutrition and medical experts has done the research and legwork for you by creating this system; all you have to do is look at the numbers! The gist of the NuVal System is that a food item is scored on a scale of 1-100 and is next to the price on the shelf tag. The higher the score, the better the nutrition. How easy is that? So while at the “Ask the RD” Nutrition Station this week, I decided to test my theory that fresh vegetables would have the exact same NuVal score as the coordinating frozen vegetable. Prepare to be amazed. Fresh AND frozen, plain okra was scored 100. It was the same story for the broccoli, corn, and spinach. I took it one step further (nerd alert) to see if there was a difference between company brands. There was no difference in NuVal scoring among the brands; even our very own Food Club frozen vegetables had the same excellent scores as other name brands! I looked at plain frozen vegetables, not frozen vegetables with added sauces.
Hope I was able to shed a little light on the mystery of fresh or frozen vegetables. When push comes to shove, both fresh and frozen vegetables are great nutritional options. It all depends on what is convenient for you and your family.
Stay healthy and eat happy!