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Choose Better Frozen Foods

Use the right frozen foods to help speed up mealtime. Convenience doesn’t always mean making nutritional sacrifices!

Frozen is as good as fresh

Don’t shy away from enjoying delicious fruit and vegetables just because they aren't in season right now. Thanks to modern flash-freezing techniques, the nutrient content in frozen produce is preserved and they are as nutrient-dense – if not more – than fresh vegetables and fruits. The flavour is fantastic too!


While the frozen food aisle used to be filled with relatively few choices, your selection has certainly changed. The peas and carrots and hard blocks of spinach are still there, but you can also experiment with frozen versions of:

  • Kale, rapini, collards, spinach and other leafy greens
  • Red and yellow peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Stir-fry mix
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Berries
  • Peaches
  • Mango


Because these vegetables and fruits are picked and flash-frozen within hours of harvest, all of the vitamins and minerals are locked in, and are readily available when you eat them. They are great for smoothies, soups, stir-fries and really help you get enough servings of vegetables and fruit each day. Bonus: no wilted greens or moldy berries that sit too long in the fridge means less waste!

Add fresh ingredients

Sometimes we don’t have time to make family favourites like pizza from scratch. Not to worry! Frozen options are there to lend a helping hand. Instead of choosing pizza with thick crust and lots of toppings, go with a thin, whole grain crust, plain cheese pizza and add on your family’s favourite fresh toppings, such as tomatoes, arugula, goat cheese, leftover chicken or whatever you enjoy the most! The possibilities are virtually endless. You can also top it with frozen broccoli or kale, which you can put on the pizza while still frozen, then bake it all together. So easy!

Make quick weekday dinners

One of the benefits of choosing high quality frozen produce is that all the prep is done for you! Since there's no washing, peeling, slicing or dicing, you can quickly and easily throw together flavourful and healthy side dishes the whole family will enjoy. Try picking at least 2 vegetables each night for dinner and mix it up daily. You can keep unthawed extras in the freezer to use next time around!

Try substituting many of the vegetables in this recipe with a frozen Asian stir fry mix for a super-quick weeknight meal.

See the recipe for Beef stir-fry

Look for low sodium frozen foods

Many frozen entrees are high in salt because it is great preservative for preventing food spoilage. The downside of eating all those high-sodium meals is that high intakes of sodium are associated with high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease.

The reality is that even if we add a little salt to our own cooking, we'll most likely never add as much as what comes in many sodium-filled pre-packaged meals. In our diet, about 5 percent of salt comes from the salt shaker, 6 percent comes from cooking, but a whopping 77% comes from processed foods.

Follow these easy tips to help you choose healthier frozen entrees:

  • Be sure to look at the sodium content on the nutrition label
  • Use the percent daily value (%DV) as a helpful guide: 5%DV is a little sodium; 15%DV is a lot.
  • Try to avoid meals that include lots of sauces and processed cheese or meat items, which are typically high in salt.
  • Don't use the condiments that come packed in frozen dinners. Use "no added salt" seasoning and a little bit of your own condiments to taste.
  • Keep portion sizes small when eating family-size frozen foods, such as lasagna and pizza. Take one portion and have vegetables on the side.
  • Look for items marked “sodium reduced” – it means they have 25% less sodium than their regular counterpart.

Save money with frozen produce

Frozen fruit and vegetables can be real money savers, especially throughout the winter months. Not only can you portion out and use only as much as you need, there's often less waste and spoilage because you're not forced to "use it up" by a certain date. Thanks to their longer lifespan in the freezer, you can rotate your veggies on a daily basis for the ultimate variety in your recipes and nutritional intake. Buy extra when they're on sale and the deals get even better. In the summer, freeze your own berries to last all winter long.

Pair mini entrees for more nutrition

Small entrees, like pasta with chicken or single-serve lasagna, are convenient for lunch or dinner on busy days. But many times, the calories they contain – about 300 – are not enough to fill you up and sustain your energy level. Pair that entrée with a side-dish to round out your meal. Try a salad topped with nuts and seeds, some stir-fried vegetables, or a piece of fruit. Have a latte or cappuccino to finish off the meal.

Make a quick and easy breakfast

Many of us make the excuse that we have no time for breakfast. We run out the door with empty stomachs and wind up making less healthy choices on the run.

Here are some quick, simple and nutritious breakfast ideas that incorporate healthier frozen ingredients:

  • Frozen whole grain waffles topped with peanut butter and a whole fruit on the side
  • Instant oatmeal cup with frozen fruit and nuts
  • Frozen fruit and yogurt smoothie
  • Frozen hash browns with scrambled eggs and a whole fruit

You can also prepare these make-ahead bars and freeze them, then use as needed!

See the recipe for Chewy Granola Bars

Healthy Bites

Choose frozen produce in a variety of colours to maximize your nutrient intake.

For a quick side dish, sauté from leafy greens in olive oil and garlic for about 10 minutes. That’s it!


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