Does Freezing Food Reduce Nutrition Value? Fresh vs. Frozen, 5 Hacks To Do It Right!
Are you wondering whether freezing food will do any good to you?
The longer a food is separated from the soil, the lesser its nutrients. Hence, leaving fresh foods sitting around leads to nutrient losses.
But then, why does the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and International Food Information Council (IFIC) report frozen foods to have the same amount of nutrients as fresh?
What Does The Term 'Fresh' Mean?
Fresh food refers to the food-derived right from the farms and consumed under 72 hours.
In reality, what we consume is not even fresh. Sometimes, it takes longer than 72 hours for the product to reach us, and it is transported in frozen vans and other modes to keep it so-called 'fresh.'
Also, by the time it reaches the vendors, the food has lost nearly 20 to 60 percent of the vitamins. If you check the frozen varieties of the same vegetables and fruits, you'll find that they, too, haven't lost more than 20% vitamin value.
In fact, there isn't any difference even in the carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and mineral content.
Fresh vegetables & fruits are susceptible to moisture loss and microbial spoilage, leading to nutrient loss. While the goods travel, they tend to lose a lot of moisture, which is a vital aspect of every fruit and vegetable.
Refrigeration slows down this process, but according to USDA, freezing puts a 'pause mode' on moisture loss, nutrient loss, and growth of microorganisms.
In simpler and classified terms, freezing is your best option from a 'nutrients per food dollar' perspective. It makes life convenient and less hectic by allowing you to plan better. With food frozen in your refrigerator, you can easily do your meal prep, and you can decide your week's
meals in one go!
Although Garden fresh harvest is the best and most nutritious, it is impossible for most people unless you live in or near a farm.
Now the main thing, how do you freeze to maintain the nutrients?
5 Hacks To Freeze Food In The Best Way
Now that you are finally considering going ahead with frozen food, here are the best ways to freeze your food and become a pro at it -
1) Don't Overcook Food; It Kills Nutrients
Before freezing your gravies, soups, and batters, do not overcook them since it tends to kill the nutrients. Instead, you should opt to undercook, and then you can cook the entire meal after you take it out from the freezer and thaw it.
Add intense spices during reheating and not in the initial cooking.
With this, it becomes easier for you and relieves you from the hassle of chopping vegetables and cooking them one by one.
2) Refrigerate & Freeze Food Immediately After Cooking
After you are done cooking the base, make sure to chill it for merely 10-15 minutes under an ice bath and then place it under the ziplock bag and freeze it as soon as possible.
This is because the base might spoil if not frozen at the right time, and you can end up with a tasteless and flavor-less meal that lacks nutrients.
3) While Freezing, Make Your Refrigerator's Freezer -18°C or Below
This is a significant step since the food might get spoiled if you do not do this. The lesser the temperature, the more power to stop the moisture-retaining and spoilage. That is why food lasts longer in the freezer than in the fridge.
Make sure the temperature is set right, and you will find the whole process hassle-free.
4) Use BPA-free Microwavable Containers To Reheat Thawed Food
Don't use just any other microwavable bowl or container; use the BPA-free containers.
This is because, during heating, BPA-free material ensures the food quality stays intact while you are thawing the food. Other materials might result in spoilage.
5) Frozen Meals Should Be Reheated Only Once & Eaten Within 24 Hours of Defrosting
It is because frozen food, when kept out for a longer duration, has a chance of spoiling rapidly due to the sudden temperature change.
Also, it can be heated just once since heating it repeatedly might result in nutritional loss.
It is always best to consume the defrosted food within 5-6 hours.
Many myths surround frozen food since people think they're an unhealthy medium of filling the stomach, but that is not the case in reality.
Frozen food such as nuggets, pre-packaged meals, bread, etc., are unhealthy since they consist of saturated fat, but if you yourself freeze your food supplies and gravy bases/soups, that is not something you need to worry about.
So just freeze your food according to your comfort and use the above techniques to ensure nothing goes downhill. Enjoy your hassle-free and convenient meal prep!
Any successful transformation requires proper goal setting, knowledge gaps to be filled up, skills and behaviours to be changed. Learning the ability to meal-prep and the skill set to prepare food in advance, combined with the knowledge of what to keep in the fridge for how much time, together will be the game changer that many motivated clients, looking for fat loss & getting stronger, miss out on.