Benefits of stocking up on frozen fruits and vegetables

Who hasn't gone digging through to the bottom of their freezer trying to find something that will help put a quick dinner on the table? Is it fast, yes, is it healthy, not always.

In many homes, freezer space is at a premium so the food experts at Consumer Reports helped us stock up on healthy frozen foods that are worth the room they take up.

It's important to Marah Ramirez that her family eat fruits and vegetables at every meal, every day. At lunch and dinner, she wants half of their plates to be produce.

"We always have frozen on hand. Because, you know, if we can't make it to the supermarket at least we know that we have options in our refrigerator," she said.

Frozen foods can be a lifesaver when you don't have the time or ingredients to make a meal from scratch but be careful what you choose Consumer Reports said the healthiest frozen foods are the ones that have just single ingredients.

"Look for high quality whole foods you can use as ingredients to make quick, healthy meals," said Amy Keating, Consumer Reports Nutritionist.

Also choose products that are free of added sugars.

Frozen fruits and veggies are a great way to get the produce you love, no matter the season.

"Frozen fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh. With vegetables, control your sodium by buying them plain and seasoning them yourself," said Keating.

Frozen bags of cooked whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and beans are making it easier than ever to eat more of this healthy food group. And since these are foods that usually take a long time to cook, using frozen can be a real time saver. Just watch the sodium.

Another incentive to buy frozen if you choose wisely? It's not just a time saver but a money saver, too.

"People throw out way too much produce. So one big benefit of frozen is you can just take out what you need and put the rest back. It's far less wasteful," said Keating.

Frozen fruit and veggies will be perfectly fine in a cold freezer for up to a year. To keep the air out, keep them in an airtight plastic bag. CR said the ideal freezer temperature is zero degrees Fahrenheit.
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