Health & Wellness
Jo Knows Nutrition
Frozen – Save Time & Money in the Freezer Aisle
The freezer aisle can be one of your grocery shopping besties if you take the time to read packaging labels and to buy what’s on sale. With so many options to save time in the kitchen and to also to combat the rising cost of food, frozen products can easily be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.
The beauty of frozen is that food will keep indefinitely in this state if stored at 0°F (-18°F) or below. Frozen foods will never go bad as long as the freezer is plugged in and in good working order. Of course, the taste and quality of frozen food will deteriorate as time goes by, so as a rule of thumb it’s best to use up your freezer products within 3 months.
The Nutrition Facts Label
The nutrition facts label became mandatory in Canada for all pre-packaged foods in 2007. A real step forward in helping the consumer make informed choices, nutrition facts labels are especially useful when comparison shopping and a secret weapon when choosing the healthiest pre-packaged foods on the market. To help you navigate a nutrition facts table check out how to read labels below:
- Start Here. Look at the serving size and compare this to the amount you are actually eating.
- Check Out the Calories. This is how many calories there are in the serving size listed. This is helpful when comparing similar items as you will be able to tell which packaged food has more or less calories for that particular serving size.
- The % Daily Value (DV) guide is incredibly useful to determine if a packaged product has a high or low amount of a specific macronutrient. In general, 5% or less is considered a low amount and 20% or more is considered high content.
- Limit These Nutrients. Be mindful of the quantity of Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium a food has.
- Get enough of These Nutrients. Aim for products that have more fibre and vitamins and minerals in it.
Hopefully, these guidelines will assist you in make healthier choices next time you visit the frozen food section of your favourite grocery store.
Did You Know?
Frozen fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional value as fresh and sometimes they’re even better for you as they are picked at their peak ripeness and are flash frozen to trap in the maximum nutrients. When choosing frozen dinners and other frozen convenience foods have a look at the nutrition facts label to comparison shop for the healthiest products. Keep the following guidelines in mind when visiting the frozen food aisle:
- Aim for less than 4 grams of saturated fat.
- Choose products with less than 800 mg of sodium (table salt).
- Ideally, there should be 3-5 grams of fibre or more.
- Aim for at least 1 serving (1/2 – 1 cup; 125 – 250 ml) of fruits or vegetables.
- Choose frozen dinners with whole grains & lower fat proteins.
- Buy frozen dinners that are fried or made with cream sauces less often.
Joanne Nijhuis MSc, RD is a consulting, media and culinary dietitian in Simcoe Grey Bruce on a mission to entertain and educate through her love of food. In addition to recipe development and writing for several publications, Joanne offers cooking demos/classes and counselling – in person or online via Zoom Health.
For more information, email Joanne at email@example.com.
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