Dietitian Chloe McLeod examines some of the advantages of fresh and frozen vegetables.
We know that fewer than 8% of Australian adults eat enough vegetables on a daily basis . And one question I am often asked is, ‘Are frozen vegetables okay?’
So, which is better, fresh or frozen?
Pros of fresh vegetables
Firstly, texture. There is nothing quite as good as biting into a crunchy carrot, or a juicy cherry tomato.
The texture of frozen vegetables is often much different to that of their fresh counterparts.
There is also a greater variety for fresh. The mix of frozen versus fresh vegetables in most supermarkets or vegetable stores is distinct; there are usually far more options for types of fresh vegetables than there is for frozen.
This makes it easier to choose a variety of dishes to prepare, which helps make the meals more interesting and diverse.
And choosing what is available in-season means a greater variety of vegetables is included across the year.
Pros of frozen vegetables
Frozen vegetables can be particularly useful for those of us leading busy lives, where it is often challenging to make it to the shops, let alone cook a gourmet meal each night. Frozen vegetables can provide a convenient alternative.
In addition, they won’t spoil if you don’t make it home for dinner, and can thus be used whenever they are needed.
Frozen vegetables are ‘snap’ frozen. This means that they are frozen as soon as they are picked, which means the nutrient density may be significantly higher than that head of broccoli that’s been sitting in the fridge for the past week.
Which is better?
To be honest, I think it is a good idea to have both.
Keeping a bag or individual serves of frozen vegetables in the freezer allows for a ready-to-go choice on any given night – even if you get home super late or have been away for the weekend and didn’t get to the shops.
Having a broader range of fresh and frozen also helps to increase the variety of plant foods in one’s diet by including plenty of fresh, in-season produce as well. In my experience, this means people are much more likely to meet that five serves of vegetables each day.
This article was originally published on RACGP and has been adapted for dietitians