Frozen vs. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: What's Healthier? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Frozen vs. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: What's Healthier?

This time of year, it's hard to find a lot of variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Heartland, without paying higher prices because so much produce is out of season locally.

Southeast Health Dietitian Raina Childers says frozen might be an option worth considering.

"Produce that's frozen is actually frozen within 24 hours of picking it. So, there are no additional salts added. It's as fresh as it can be."

Fresh versus frozen? It's a classic argument dietitians have researched for years, and are now finding what you see in the freezer aisle could be just as nutritional as the foods in the produce section of your favorite store.

"Some studies say it's less nutritional because it sits on a truck, dries for a distance, then sits in a store, where that doesn't happen with frozen."

But how do you know what to pick?

"Make sure it's not a frozen block. Otherwise, it's probably been defrosted and refrozen which can affect quality."

 Raina says steer clear of vegetables coated with cheese or creamy sauces which can add calories you weren't bargaining for. Also, buy frozen fruits not laced with extra sugar or doused in syrups. Meantime, big savings can pop up in the canned goods section, but Raina says you're still better off buying fruits and vegetables frozen or fresh.

"Nutrition is not that of frozen or fresh, but it's better than nothing."

However, she advises you to toss in those cans with labels listing 'no salt added' as the American diet is already full of sodium-enriched foods as it is.

Then, it's time to get sizzling' while remembering:

"Fresh and frozen are neck and neck. Some say frozen is better."

Raina offers a few recipes to get you started.

Raina's Frozen Vegetable Soup


  • 2- 14.5 ounce cans of fat free chicken broth
  • 1- 14.5 ounce can of no added salt diced tomatoes
  • 1- 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon no calorie sweetener
  • 1 ½ cups frozen cauliflower
  • 6 cups (1 bag) mixed frozen vegetables with broccoli, red pepper, mushrooms and onions
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli



  • Bring all ingredients except for frozen vegetables to a boil in a large saucepan on medium heat.
  • Lower heat to simmer and add frozen vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.


Yields: 10 servings


Nutrition Information: Calories: 70, Fat: 1 gram, Carbohydrate: 8.5 grams, Protein: 6 grams, Fiber: 2.7 grams, Sodium: 550mg.


Frozen Vegetable Sauté



  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 4 cups mixed frozen vegetables, such as corn, green beans and carrots
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill or tarragon



  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in frozen vegetables. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in dill (or tarragon), salt and pepper.

Yields: 4 servings (3/4 cup)

Nutrition Information: Calories: 107, Fat:  4 g, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Protein; 3 g, Fiber: 3 grams, Sodium: 178 mg


Mixed Berry Cobbler



  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blackberries
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine oats and brown sugar in a small bowl, spread mixture in a baking pan until it turns light brown- about 8 minutes.
  • Cut in margarine and spread around pan. Return pan to oven for about 1 minute until it is melted. Stir oats around to coat. Then bake 5 more minutes.
  • Set oatmeal topping aside.
  • Combine lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 3 cups of mixed berries to syrup and reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Cook an additional 3 minutes at a simmer, stirring constantly.
  • Pour the cooked fruit in a sieve or colander and press on to reserved bowl of berries.
  • Place berry mixture in greased 9x13 pan and sprinkle oatmeal topping all over and bake for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with Cool Whip, etc.


Yields: 8 Servings


Nutritional Information:

Calories:  221, Fat grams: 6, Protein grams: 4, Fiber grams: 7, Carbohydrate grams: 40, Sodium mg: 52




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