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Is frozen food more nutritious & cheaper than canned food?

fresh vegetables: tomatoes, pumpkin, spinach, salad and flowers on blue background

Many people wonder whether frozen food is more nutritious and cheaper than canned food. Of course nothing beats fresh foods, however fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits and meat can often be very expensive compared to frozen or canned foods. But eating healthily doesn’t have to be expensive, by swapping some fresh produce for frozen or canned. I will make a comparison of frozen and tinned food and explain why I prefer frozen over canned food.

Canned food

Tinned food on supermarket shelf. canned fruit, tin of vegetable

Canned fruits and veg can still provide us with our 5 a day just like fresh and frozen produce. The fibre content stays the same as fresh and frozen foods, however to preserve the content of the tin, tinned foods often go through a heat treatment to keep the contents sterile (free of microorganisms) and therefore can be stored for a very long time. The disadvantage of this process on the other hand, is that some nutritional value will be lost from heating. If the fruit or veg will be cooked again, the nutritional values will further decrease.  When it comes to fresh and frozen foods some nutrients will also be lost when cooked, but not as much as tinned foods as fresh and frozen food have not been heated to sterilize. Frozen food is however blanched before frozen, which decreases nutritional value slightly, nowhere near as much as the sterilisation process of canned foods.

Cost wise tinned food can be cheaper than fresh produce, but frozen seems to work out cheaper than canned by weight.  Another thing to remember is that manufacturers of canned food often add a significant amount of sugar and/or salt to the content.

Pros and Cons of canned fruit and veg
A very long shelf lifeAdded salt
Part of your 5 a dayAdded sugar
Usually cheaper than fresh produceLoss of nutritional value from heating
Free of bacteria, fungus and virusCan be more expensive than frozen produce

Frozen Food

frozen fruit: blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

Frozen food is often a lot cheaper by weight compared to fresh veg, fruits and meat. Fruit and veg are picked, blanched and frozen within hours from harvest, to preserve taste and retain nutrients. Frozen fruits and vegetables as mentioned before are blanched before freezing, to deactivate certain enzymes that can unfavourably affect the colour, flavour, smell and nutritional value of the veg or fruit.

As we all know meat and fish can be very expensive when bought fresh from the fishmonger or butcher. Since I eat salmon several times a week, I buy frozen salmon filets, which are as good as the stuff from the fishmonger. I got a friend who once worked in a fishmonger, she has told me that the fish that is on the counter was actually also frozen. So I don’t see the difference between buying fish from the fishmonger or the frozen section. You can buy meat such as minced meat and chicken fillets frozen, which does work out cheaper than the fresh meat.

Pros and Cons of frozen fruit and veg
A very long shelf life compared to fresh produceThought a slight decrease in nutritional value compared to fresh, still a con.
Part of your 5 a dayBig bags can take up a lot of freezer space
Usually cheaper than fresh and canned produce 
No added sugar or salt 
Much better nutritional value compared to canned foods 

My preference and why

Lei Hang (The Thrifty Island Girl) in red pink seamless Gymshark workout clothing and plate of lunch consisting of salmon filet and vegetables.
My lunch after a workout

I know we all have different preferences and I respect whatever your opinion and choice is. I personally I still buy quiet a lot of fresh produce. However there are certain things I prefer to buy frozen over fresh, to cut costs and also prevent food waste. In the picture above, you can see that I enjoy healthy and balanced meals. Believe it or not, the whole meals was made from frozen foods, including the fillet of salmon! Veg I prefer buying frozen include sweetcorn, peas, asparagus. I prefer sweetcorn and petits pois peas frozen over canned. This is because frozen doesn’t contain the added sugar or salt that can be found in canned. I also buy these frozen because it has a higher nutritional value compared to canned. My little girl and I go through sweetcorn quickly, so it works out a lot cheaper than fresh and canned.

Since Yasmin hates asparagus and I love having asparagus with salmon or occasionally steak. I wont be able to finish the bundle of fresh asparagus, therefor would produce food waste. So the frozen asparagus is the perfect solution to my problem. Since I have 6 salmon fillets a week on average, it can be very costly, hence I buy the frozen salmon filets to save some money but still maintain my nutritional plan I am following. When it comes to chicken breast, I bulk buy fresh and then freeze into portions as soon as I get home to preserve and cut cost. I find frozen chicken seems to shrink in size a lot when cooked. I am not 100% sure as to why, but someone once told me they might have been injected with saline solution to make the chicken breast appear larger.

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