LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- March is Frozen Food Month and frozen foods are a convenient way to make quick meals, reduce food waste, and save you money. Melissa Hehmann, a Meijer dietitian and healthy living advisor, talked to WDRB about some of the myths associated with frozen foods.
When you're short on time, turn to the freezer for quick and nutritious dinners. Today's frozen foods are convenient and tasty and, in many cases, contain as many nutrients as their fresh counterparts. Whether it's fish or berries, frozen tends to be cheaper than fresh, too. You'll usually find your favorite available year-round. Using frozen foods, along with fresh, helps you cut down on food waste because foods stay fresh for months in the freezer-and frozen is ready when you are.
Frozen Food Myths:
MYTH 1: Frozen fruits and vegetables are not as nutritious as fresh.
Frozen foods may actually contain more nutrients than their fresh counterparts as they are frozen at peak ripeness and freshness. Fresh produce usually has to be picked before it is ripe in order for it to be delivered to the store before expiration.
MYTH 2: Frozen foods are high in sodium.
There are many frozen and prepared foods that are high in sodium, but not all. Check the labels. Look for options that have less than 600mg of sodium per meal. An average meal at home has about 1350mg of sodium, and the amount may be much higher at restaurants.
MYTH 3: Frozen meals are high in calories.
While there are many frozen meals that are higher in calories, there are just as many, if not more, that are less than 450 calories per meal. Frozen meals can be a handy portion-control aid for those that are trying to lose weight or manage blood sugars. An average prepared meal at home contains 650-700 calories. Check the labels and aim for 400-600 calories per meal.
Stock up on these for breakfast:
· Frozen fruits are great for making fruit smoothies or popsicles, mixing into pancakes or muffins, or serving over oatmeal. Just thaw or heat to create delicious toppings for low fat ice cream, yogurt or French toast. Buy frozen fruits and berries without added sugars.
· Frozen waffles and pancakes make eating breakfast a breeze. Use thawed frozen fruit for a lower sugar topping.
· Frozen breakfast meals can be great when time is short. Just grab from your freezer and go. Plus, save some money and calories as compared to fast food. Choose meals with less than 400 calories and 600mg sodium.
· Frozen smoothies where you just add water, juice, or milk can be a great and nutritious addition to any breakfast.
Stock up on these for lunch:
· Frozen meals with around 400 calories per meal.
· Frozen meals with less than 600mg sodium per meal.
Stock up on these for dinner:
· Frozen family entrées can be included for those nights when cooking is impossible, but eating out is too costly.
· Frozen fish and seafood are best bought frozen because they are highly perishable, and are usually cheaper, too. They're great for last-minute dinners, as they thaw quickly.
· Frozen chicken is often already cut and cooked so you can quickly add to stir-fries, soups, or casseroles.
· Frozen vegetables can be used in any recipe that calls for fresh or canned. Peas, carrots, green beans, broccoli, Meijer Stir Fry vegetables and Meijer Florentine Style vegetables are excellent choices to keep on hand for adding to stir-fries, soups, stews and casseroles.
· Frozen beans and legumes can be thawed and added to salads, or added frozen to hot dishes like chili or soup.
Baked Curried Cod
4 Meijer frozen cod fillets
1 tbsp. Meijer canola oil
1 tbsp. McCormick® Curry powder
1 tsp. McCormick® Ground Cumin
2 tsp. McCormick® Garlic Powder
¼ tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place cod fillets on baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle with oil. In a small bowl combine curry, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Sprinkle spice mixture over cod.
2. Bake 10 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish turns from glassy to opaque and flakes with a fork.
Recipe adapted from Try Foods International
Nutrition Information (per serving): 150 calories, 4g fat, 475mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 24g protein
Serve with Meijer Instant Brown Rice and Meijer Frozen Florentine Style Vegetables seasoned with Italian Seasoning and olive oil, Meijer Greek Yogurt topped with Meijer Frozen Unsweetened Blueberries.
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