Vegetables. Veggies. Veg. Greens. Produce. Ruffage. Rabbit food. That thing you can’t get your kids to eat. There’s a huge variety of different kinds out there and even more ways to prepare them; but are they all created equal?
Love them or hate them, veggies are a crucial source of fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients, which your body needs, in order to function well and burn through body fat. They’re a vital resource in a balanced and healthy diet.
How these vegetables are grown, stored, and prepared can affect their quality and the nutrients held within them. But to what extent? Let’s dive in.
Over the past decades, countless studies have been conducted, in order to better understand the retention of various vitamins and nutrients in vegetables through the freezing and canning processes. While, in most cases, these showed a minor decrease in levels of vitamins B and C, there was an almost comparable retention rate of minerals and fiber, which have been shown to remain relatively stable during processing. A 2014 study evaluating levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and copper showed “no significant difference between fresh and frozen” for the majority of the produce tested.
Despite the slight decrease in some vitamin levels, canned and frozen vegetables remain a fantastic alternative to fresh vegetables, and are still full of vital nutrients. These veggies are also almost always frozen or canned at peak freshness, in order to retain the top quality possible. The oxidation process, causing the loss of nutrients like vitamins B and C, can also be minimized by keeping frozen vegetables in an airtight container. Additionally, vegetables are even less susceptible to oxidation when they are canned.
So Many Options
While we tend to naturally favor fresh vegetables – the lovely, fresh, earthy smell, the crisp snap when you chop them – frozen or otherwise preserved vegetables are a fantastic resource upon which we can well rely. We don’t always have time to prepare fresh food or have access to plump, ripe veggies.
Counting on frozen veg can really help up your meal-prep game and keep you consistent in hitting all your necessary food groups each day! From bringing along frozen veg to be microwaved for your lunch at work, to finding a great frozen blend to sautée alongside your protein for dinner, to prepping your own fresh veggies in advance and freezing them yourself for later use, there are many options to make use of this great resource.
Consider freezing your own vegetables
Pre-chopping and measuring your veg, and then freezing it in pre-portioned containers can make it much easier to prepare lunches or dinners on the program, without needing to put much thought into it! (When using frozen veg, you should still be measuring out two cups for lunch and dinner, each).
Make a veggie stew and freeze it in pre-portioned ziplock bags
You can lay them on a sheet pan, label them (content and date), and then freeze them flat. Once frozen, they can be “filed away” in the freezer next to your other yummy veggie options.
Too many fresh veggies that you can’t use before they go bad? Blanch them in order to best retain their texture for cooking at a later point in time. This process is great for zucchini, summer squash, leafy greens, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus. Here’s a simple how-to guide.
Avoid removing too much of your veggies’ edible peels, as these often contain a large amount of their naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, which can be hugely beneficial to your success on the program, as well as your overall health, well-being, and natural immunity!
Hopefully, this has offered you a little more insight into the topic of veggies and the valuable resources they hold within. Fresh, frozen, or canned – you’re still giving your body the essential building blocks it needs. More knowledge will help you succeed in your weight loss journey and create a more sustainable, long-term lifestyle, that will allow you to feel good and get to, as well as stay within, your health ranges. You’re building important habits every day with the effort you put into these changes. Just keep in mind: it’s about progress, not perfection.
Oh, and one last reminder. In short: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mr0LnfPaXM