Fresh vs Frozen: Fruits and Veggies Back »

Written by Janelle Paulson under the direction and review of Tara Shafrath.

Getting an adequate intake of fruits and vegetables is already challenging enough, and in the winter, this task proves to be even more challenging. For adult males, the daily recommendation is 2 cups of fruit and 2.5-3 cups of vegetables per day, and for adult females, the daily recommendation is 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2.5-3 cups of vegetables per day (Choose My Plate). An easy solution to adding more fruits and veggies into your daily diet would be simply to buy more produce, right? Not always.

In the middle of the long, cold winters shopping for produce often involves pacing tirelessly up and down the produce aisle only to be left with the options of the most bruised or overripe fruits and vegetables items. During these times, many of us yearn for the luscious, fresh food items that are so accessible during with the warmer seasons, but we often forget that there is another option available. Try frozen fruit and vegetables instead!

Fresh vs. Frozen: Is there a difference?

In a recent study published by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers examined whether refrigerated or frozen fruits and vegetables maintained nutrients better than fresh, and they found that there were no significant differences between fresh and frozen produce when it was harvested and stored at the same time! (Bouzari, A., Holstege, D., & Barrett, D., 2015)

So the next time you’re searching endlessly through the oftentimes picked-over produce aisle during the winter months, consider taking a gander down the frozen section as well. Many times the frozen section has a much wider, more stocked selection of fruits and vegetables. A longer storage life is another advantage to buying frozen produce, which is convenient for those that like to stock up on groceries ahead of time. You can feel confident you are providing adequate nutrition for you and your family.

Frozen Fruits & Veggies: Diet tips

Not sure what to do with frozen fruits and veggies? Here are some easy and enjoyable ways to incorporate frozen produce into your diet:

  • Fruit and vegetable smoothie
  • Fruit and yogurt parfait
  • Blended fruit sorbet
  • Top your whole grain cereal or oatmeal
  • Top your salad
  • Add fruit or veggies to water for added flavor
  • Vegetable stir fry
  • Add vegetables to pasta
  • Eat them as a side dish

Serving Sizes

If you want to learn more about the recommended serving size of fruits and vegetables for your age, sex, and activity level, visit Choose My Plate’s Fruit and Vegetable websites.

Reference: Bouzari, A., Holstege, D., & Barrett, D. (2015). Vitamin Retention in Eight Fruits and Vegetables: A Comparison of Refrigerated and Frozen Storage. Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry, 63(3), 957-962.

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