To Freeze or Not to Freeze – That Is the Question

Normally during the holidays I try to focus on having fun with my family and not thinking about the housework… but also continue to prepare meals that are as healthy as possible for the developing bodies of the little ones and to support the health of the grown-ups !

In Greece we now have ready-to-cook frozen foods – they have arrived in the last decade. I don’t mean the ones you put in the microwave, but a healthy selection of dishes, ready for real cooking.

For example, there are frozen vegetable mixes – “ladera”. You heat the olive oil, “tsigarize” the mixture, add water, and cook over low heat. How easy is that? Is it as healthy as fresh? Anything to watch out for with this meal? In fact, one of my colleagues who worked in the research department of a large well-known company that produces this type of frozen food has been looking into these questions. How healthy are you? What about temperature-sensitive vitamins like vitamin C?

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Apparently – to put it simply – if you keep the vegetables and fruit you buy fresh in your fridge for too many days, some vitamins, like C, “disappear” at the same rate or more than frozen. So if you have extra veggies or fruit in your fridge, cut them into chunks and freeze them. But use them in time – don’t keep them in the fridge for too long. You can always add them directly to your meals and smoothies. No more wasting food and money!

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However, it is of paramount importance to pay attention to quality and to read the labels on these items.

Investing in a more expensive choice with more certifications will impact the taste and the feeding experience. It’s also important to buy local produce. The bigger the food chain, the more mistakes can happen. If your product has come from far away and needs to be kept frozen, that’s not so easy, but it also affects the quality.

So don’t be afraid to use frozen products, just read the packaging carefully for more information. Added salt, saturated fats, preservatives, and other substances are a big no-no if you want to choose something healthy and cook it your way. Don’t forget to add a sprinkling of your choice of herb mix, although that’s a matter of personal taste! My final message is: have fun!

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Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botanical Biology.

* The above is not medical advice, just a suggestion to improve your diet. Before using herbs, you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health problems, are pregnant or are under 6 years old.

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