Have some hang ups about frozen fruit? Maybe you’re thinking you eat enough fresh fruit and therefore have no use for frozen. Maybe you’re unsure about whether frozen fruit is as nutritious as fresh fruit. Maybe you’re confident in frozen fruit’s nutritional value but don’t know how to incorporate it into your daily life.
Whatever the reason, frozen fruit has falsely gotten a bad rap in comparison to its fresher counterpart. So, what is fact and what is fiction? In this post, we are busting three frozen fruit myths! We’re breaking down the benefits and giving you simple, RD-approved ways to incorporate this freezer staple into your meals and snacks on the reg.
Myth 01 – You get enough of fruit’s health-promoting benefits just by eating fresh fruit
If you’re glossing over this post because you’re already incorporating a lot of fresh fruit into your life, good for you! But hear us out for the next paragraph or so. Research tells us that consuming adequate amounts of fruits in combination with other plant foods (like vegetables and whole grains) is associated with lesser risk of chronic disease development.
Despite this, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines cite that about 80% of American adults are not meeting the 2 cup serving per day recommendation for fruit in all available forms – meaning it’s not just fresh fruit that counts towards the daily recommendation. Fresh fruit, canned fruit, 100% fruit juice, and frozen fruit all count towards meeting that goal.
Now, here’s the interesting part: A recent study examining the total fruit and vegetable consumption of non-frozen fruit & veg eaters and frozen fruit & veg eaters found that while both groups still failed to meet the total daily recommendation, frozen fruit & veg consumers ate significantly more fruit and vegetables than did non-frozen fruit & veg consumers. Consequently, the frozen fruit and veg group consumed higher amounts of fiber, potassium, calcium and vitamin D (all nutrients people usually do not get enough of in their diets), and they consumed less sodium than the non-frozen fruit & veg group.
In short, the study findings suggest that when we don’t consume frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit (and other forms) is not eaten in high enough quantities to make up for the gap between average consumption and daily recommendation. While, of course, you can eat enough fresh fruit to meet this goal, it suggests that including frozen fruit makes it easier to do that.
Myth 02 – Frozen fruit is less nutritious than fresh fruit
We’d bet good money that you’ve heard this myth before. So is frozen fruit less nutritious than fresh? Let’s put this one to rest once and for all: absolutely not. In fact, dependent on the fruit, frozen fruit may actually have more nutritional value than fresh.
While it’s true that fruit in all forms loses some nutritional value from the time that it is picked to the time that you buy it at the supermarket, frozen fruit may retain more value because it’s usually picked at peak ripeness – this is when nutritional value tends to be at its highest (again, dependent on the type of fruit). It is then immediately frozen so those nutrients are less prone to degradation. Fresh fruit, in comparison, is often picked before peak ripeness because it continues to ripen while it’s being processed and transported. Because it’s not frozen, it’s more prone to nutrient breakdown than frozen fruit may be
One study evaluated the riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin E (α-tocopherol), vitamin c (ascorbic acid), and vitamin A (beta carotene) content in 8 different frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables. Overall, researchers found that there were no significant differences in vitamin content, and for some vitamins analyzed, frozen fruits were found to have greater quantities than fresh.
So we now know that frozen fruit can help us hit the daily fruit recommendation and is equivalent if not superior to fresh fruit in nutritional value. Need more reasons to buy in? We think you’ll be convinced after we bust myth #3.
Myth 03 – Frozen fruit is less versatile than fresh fruit
Only think of frozen fruit as a flavorful smoothie ingredient? Think again. Now that we’ve discussed the science behind frozen versus fresh, let’s talk about how to incorporate this nutritious food into your everyday life.
One of the versatility issues that people cite with frozen fruit loses its texture when thawed. This is because when fruit is initially frozen, the water inside the fruit expands in size, causing the cells to burst. This leads to textural changes that are noticeable when the fruit is thawed.
While the soft texture of thawed frozen fruit can limit its usage, there are plenty of ways to utilize frozen fruit to successfully increase your intake. We suggest using fresh fruit when the texture is super important to the overall meal or snack, and using frozen fruit when that’s not the case. Check out our recommendations below for creative ways to use your new favorite freezer staple.
01 – Add thawed frozen fruit to waffles, pancakes, muffins, biscuits as you would fresh (some recipes may require you to drain some of the juice after thawing)
02 – Add a handful of frozen, slightly thawed berries to salads as a refreshing, nutrient dense topping
03 – Sprinkle frozen blueberries over baked brie to add some antioxidants to your cheese platter
04 – Combine frozen mango chunks with cashew cream and some lime juice to create a tangy crema for tacos, grilled chicken, or spicy shrimp.
05 – Make a nutrient packed PB and J sandwich with whole grain bread, nut butter of choice, and thawed mashed berries (be sure to drain excess juice before mashing).
06 – Use thawed frozen fruit as a substitute when a cocktail or mocktail calls for fresh fruit.
07 – Try Wyman’s Just Fruit in place of a fresh fruit snack. Add a scoop of Greek yogurt and nut butter when you need your snack to provide a big burst of energy and hold you over till your next meal. More below!
We’ve also got a delicious smoothie recipe using frozen fruit – check out this post to give it a try!
Recently, we’ve been really into Wyman’s Just Fruit for its convenience and taste factor. The Wild Blueberry flavor contains whole frozen fruit, yogurt, vanilla extract, and fruit pectin. FYI: fruit pectin is a form of soluble fiber that is naturally found in fruits and, like all soluble fiber, has health-promoting benefits such as lowering cholesterol and balancing blood sugar.
We love that it comes individually portioned, is low in calories, and combines the nutritional value of frozen fruit with yogurt. While it’s definitely delicious enough to eat on its own, we recommend adding in some nut butter to keep you fuller for longer. It can also be mixed with some chocolate chips for a nutrient packed dessert.