Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cold food: It's hot, hot, hot!

Around this time each year, things can get a little dreary.  School picks up, I get less sleep even though there are more hours of night than day, and I have little time and even less inspiration to cook.  Plus, have you seen the produce aisle lately?  Unless you can get yourself to a Whole Foods, the pickings are slim.

So how can we keep our fruit and veggie intake going strong all winter long?  (You know I enjoyed that rhyme.)

The answer, my friends, is in the freezer aisle.

A thing of beauty, no?

Unlike canned fruit and vegetables, frozen produce is as healthy as fresh—and often healthier. This is because produce is frozen at the peak of freshness, when nutrients are at optimal levels.  Unlike pasteurization or preservatives (methods used to ensure the safety of canned foods), cold temperatures do not degrade the nutrients.  And the best part?  Preparation is as simple as pressing “start” on the microwave.  Ding!

Here are some ways to incorporate frozen produce into your diet:

  • Toss a handful or two into a saucepan of tomato sauce
  • Bulk up stir-fries and curries
  • Serve as a side dish, with a squeeze of lemon juice and/or a dash of your favorite spice
  • Nuke one package plain chopped spinach and one package creamed spinach; mix
  • Pre-seasoned frozen vegetables: pure genius and completely idiot-proof

  • Heat gently and spoon over waffles or pancakes
  • Stir into lowfat plain greek yogurt
  • Eat frozen right out of the bag!

 Now you can get all the fiber and antioxidants you need to stay slim and healthy during these cold months.  ¡Salud!


  1. What is a simple side dish that I can make using frozen vegetables and the spices I have in my cabinet?

    Also, can I put frozen fruit into a lowfat yogurt with some ice to make a smoothylicious treat? How much would I have to add to get a full serving of fruit?

  2. What excellent questions, Sandra!

    For vegetables, try this: Nuke frozen green beans (I like the French-style haricot vert) and either fresh or frozen carrots until they're hot. Drain if there's some water present. Dab a little margarine or butter on top, and finally, sprinkle with salt 'n pepa and some dried thyme.

    And you can absolutely use frozen fruit in smoothies! In fact, if you use frozen fruit, you may not need as much ice. I hear that frozen mango and banana work especially well for this (be sure to slice the banana before freezing it). And you may be surprised to hear this, but we no longer measures food in servings. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) measures fruits and vegetables in cups, which is much easier! To find out how many cups of fruits and vegetables you need each day, visit And to find out how much of every food group you need a day, visit and click "Get a personalized plan."

  3. What great suggestions Rebecca! I always use frozen veggies when I'm in a crunch.

    I just posted the Carrot Chicken recipe if you want to check it out: