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It can be hard to balance the demands of eating well without spending a lot.

In this series, we try to find the healthiest options in the supermarket for the best value – and have enlisted the help of Sunna Van Kampen, founder of Tonic Health, who went viral on social media for reviewing food in the search of healthier choices.

In this series we don’t try to find the outright healthiest option, but help you get better nutritional value for as little money as possible.

This time, we’re looking at whether frozen fruit and vegetables, often a lot cheaper and more convenient, are just as good for you as fresh. 

Frozen products often get bad press, but is that fair? 

Sunna argues they can be better for you nutritionally than fresh – and that’s good news for your wallet.

Fresh produce challenges

Before we get to why frozen fruit and veg is so great, let’s look at some of the downsides of fresh produce. 

“Fresh fruit and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, but they often have been picked before peak ripeness to allow them to ripen during the long distances to reach your local supermarket,” he says.

This gives them less time to develop their full range of vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants and during the journey, they might also spend days or even weeks in transit and storage. 

Because of that, vitamins like C and B and other antioxidants start to degrade – beginning the moment they are picked. 

“By the time it reaches your plate, your fruits and veggies might not be as nutrient-dense as they once were,” he says.

The average UK household also wastes about £470 of food each year – and a big portion of that is fresh fruit and vegetables that have gone bad before being eaten. 

Why frozen may be a better option 

“Frozen veg could be your best ally in maintaining a nutritious diet while keeping costs low,” Sunna says. 

Frozen produce is picked at peak ripeness, when it’s most nutrient-dense, then flash-frozen within hours of picking. 

“This process effectively pauses the degradation of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, preserving the nutritional value until you’re ready to eat,” Sunna says. 

“Freezing produce also locks in nutrients that might otherwise be lost during the transportation and storage of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

The money

The good news doesn’t stop there – as your wallet can also win here.

Here are a few examples of the price difference between fresh and frozen produce:

Blueberries – more than 40% saving

  • Fresh 300g – £10.50 a kg
  • Frozen 400g – £6.25 a kg 

Broccoli – more than 45% saving

  • Fresh loose – £2.19 a kg
  • Frozen florets – £1.19 a kg

Spinach – more than 65% saving

  • Baby fresh 220g – £6.10 a kg
  • Frozen 900g – £2.06 a kg

So switching from fresh to frozen blueberries (assuming one punnet a week) would save you £33.80 a year – do the same with broccoli and spinach and you’re looking at more than £100 in savings. 

Look in your cupboards and in your fridge for easy substitutes to maximise savings – these are just three examples. 

There is one obvious drawback here…

Taste

“Frozen doesn’t always taste as good as fresh,” Sunna says, “but there are simple ways to make these changes more palatable for your taste buds too.”

Sticking with our examples above – using fruit in smoothies means you’ll barely notice a difference, while you can steam or roast broccoli instead of boiling it to avoid it going mushy.

Spinach tastes virtually the same. 

“Don’t let the allure of fresh produce blind you to the benefits of their frozen counterparts,” Sunna says.

“By switching to frozen, you can enjoy better nutrient retention, amazing cost savings, and reduce food waste – a win-win-win.” 

Read more from this series… 















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