10 Frozen Foods Nutritionists Always Buy
These healthy grocery items are always in their freezers.
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Freezer Aisle MVPs
Although you may think the frozen food aisle is filled with unhealthy fare, there are quite a few good options lining freezer shelves. We asked nutritionists from around the country what must-have frozen groceries they stock up on.
Whether in or out of the pod, baby soybeans are filled with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Sharon Palmer, RDN, also known as The Plant-Powered Dietitian, always stocks them in her fridge. Palmer says edamame "is a great plant protein source, and is so easy to use in dishes like stir-fry, curries and salads" or in her Mediterranean Edamame Quinoa Vegan Bowl. You can find them lightly salted or unsalted usually by the frozen vegetables.
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Frozen Pitted Sweet Cherries
Malina Linkas Malkani, RDN and media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says she keeps cherries in her freezer because they "are delicious and also nutrient-dense." They're a good source of both vitamin C and fiber, and contain powerful antioxidants that have been shown to help reduce inflammation and improve joint, brain and heart health. "Pitting fresh cherries can be a bit labor intensive, so I love the convenience of buying them frozen and pre-pitted, which makes it quick and easy to add them into smoothies, yogurt parfaits, pies, breads and muffins," she says.
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Frozen Baby Spinach
Frozen vegetables are a nutrient-rich option to keep on-hand year-round. That’s why New York-based dietitian Maya Feller MS, RD, CDN stocks up on frozen baby spinach. "It's an economical alternative to fresh baby spinach that's not in season all year round, while falling into the category of a minimally processed whole food. I use it in smoothies or when I’m making Trinidadian food like callaloo," says Feller.
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Frozen Sweet Corn
Willow Jarosh, MS, RD, CDN of C&J Nutrition loves buying sweet corn in the summertime through her farm share, but the rest of the year she depends on frozen kernels. "Corn is really versatile and adds a nice sweet flavor element and satisfying texture to dishes. It also makes the fastest work lunch paired with black beans, salsa, and roasted walnuts or cashews," she says.
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Frozen Wild Blueberries
"Wild blueberries offer so many health-helping antioxidants — more than double the amount of regular blueberries, in fact! — and are an excellent source of filling fiber." says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area and a nutrition partner with Wild Blueberries of North America. Gorin uses them to add instant nutrition to quick breakfast recipes, whether blended into a smoothie, reheated and used as an oatmeal topping, or mixed into pancake batter.
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Frozen Riced Cauliflower
Erin Macdonald, RDN and co-founder of U Rock Girl, says riced cauliflower is something she picks up regularly in the frozen food aisle. "I throw [frozen riced cauliflower] into a smoothie which helps make it thick and the flavor pretty much disappears into it," explains Macdonald. She also uses frozen riced cauliflower to make cauliflower fried rice and pizza crust.
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Frozen Baked Potato Wedges
Jim White, RD Owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios likes to stock up on frozen baked spuds. "They are lower in fat and supply the carbs and potassium to help with recovery during a hard-earned workout," says White, who adds them to his protein and veggies to round out a post workout meal.
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Frozen Brown Rice
You can now find frozen grains in the freezer aisle and Jenny S. Passione, RDN, CC takes full advantage. "Brown rice, being unmilled, retains the outer layer, the bran on the rice kernel adding additional nutrients over that of white rice including increased fiber (12% of your daily fiber intake) and protein," says Passione. Even better, it takes between 3 to 5 minutes to cook instead of the 40 to 50 minutes for dried brown rice, making it perfect for a weeknight meal.
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Sarah Pflugradt, MS, RDN, LDN must have frozen peas stocked in her ice box. "They are so small, you don't even have to defrost before adding them to hot dishes," says Pflugradt who loves adding them to risotto, mac and cheese, soups or pastas. "With 8 grams of protein and almost 40% of the DV of vitamin C per cup, they are a healthy and pretty addition to any dish."
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Frozen Broccoli Florets
This classic frozen veggie is also a favorite of Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, a nutrition and culinary consultant at Shari Steinbach & Associates, LLC. "I use them in stir-fries, omelets, casseroles, salads and more," says Steinbach. "I love that there is no waste and one cup of low-calorie cooked broccoli offers as much vitamin C as an orange, and is a good source of beta-carotene, B vitamins, and several minerals — along with fiber!"
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