Making the Most of Frozen Foods by Transforming Them Into Nutritious Meals
- Author: Sadie Parker
- Posted: 2023-03-10
During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone was enthusiastic about having extra time at home to cook elaborate and nutritious meals. Nine months into this health crisis, that enthusiasm for home-cooked meals every night has waned in most households. Many families are turning back to frozen meals for convenient and quick meals as a result of this increasing cooking fatigue.
Frozen Food Consumption Up This YearYou do not have to be an economist to understand why grocery store sales are up this year. While the restaurant industry is struggling because of the ongoing pandemic, more people are being forced to prepare meals at home. Because of this, grocery stores are enjoying a boom in business.
Frozen foods have seen particular growth in light of the pandemic. According to the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), sales of frozen food are up 15% from the same time period last year. More Americans are reaching for these food products because they do not have time to cook, however, going through a drive-thru is not always a feasible option.
This is especially true in households with kids engaging in virtual learning. Now busy parents not only have to prepare dinner each night, but they also need to figure out a plan for lunch. This makes frozen food a good option for a fast meal in the middle of the busy day.
Benefits of Frozen FoodAlthough most people point to the convenience of frozen food as its biggest benefit, there are additional benefits to making this type of product part of your regular meal rotation. Many families find that they waste far less when consuming frozen food. Rather than buying fresh produce that will go bad if you do not eat it within a few days, frozen food can be saved for later when properly stored. In addition, you will enjoy greater meal preparation flexibility when you make frozen foods a part of your regular rotation.
Another key advantage to frozen food is that you can enjoy all of your favorites throughout the year. Instead of relying on what is in season, you can choose from a wider array of food products when purchasing them frozen. This extends to everything from fish to fruits and vegetables.
Lastly, because frozen foods are harvested at their peak, you will also enjoy significant nutritional benefits. All of the vitamins are minerals are locked in when harvested and frozen right away. This makes it easier to eat healthy while still on a budget.
How to Make Your Frozen Meals Even HealthierWhile there are numerous health benefits inherent in frozen foods, there are additional ways that you can boost this nutritional quotient even further.
- Frozen Pizza - You can elevate the nutrition of a standard frozen pizza by adding some fresh veggies to the top after you have baked it. There are also many new varieties of healthy frozen pizzas, using ingredients such as nitrate-free meat toppings or cauliflower crusts.
- Frozen Meatballs - It is easy to make a bag of frozen meatballs the base of a healthy meal. Toss them in marinara sauce and serve over whole grain spaghetti. Or try using them stuffed into a hoagie roll topped with provolone as a meatball sub sandwich.
- Frozen Chili - Increase the nutritional value of basic frozen chili with a few flavorful fresh additions. Good ideas to top your chili with include diced tomatoes, frozen corn, or shredded cheddar cheese.
You can also think of ways to supplement your existing frozen meal with side dishes to increase the nutritional value. For example, try pairing your frozen lasagna with a fresh garden salad. Or add a smoothie to your frozen breakfast sandwich. Once you begin brainstorming ways that you can increase the nutritional value of your frozen food rotation, you will see how you can make this food option part of an overall healthy meal plan.
With the right meal planning, you can make frozen foods an integral part of your healthy diet plan. Give yourself a little grace during this pandemic and enjoy the convenience of frozen foods without feeling any guilt.