Fresh fruit and vegetables are better than frozen.
Actually, no. If you look closely through the produce section at your grocery store (especially big chain stores), you’ll see stickers announcing where the fruit came from – Mexico, Florida, even further overseas. While we’ve come a long way in terms of rapid shipping, it still takes time to get to us. When you consider the time spent in shipping and storage, fruit may sit around for up to two weeks before you put it in your shopping cart. During this time, nutrients, especially vitamin C, are lost.
In contrast, frozen fruit is often picked and frozen at the peak of its freshness, locking in the nutrients. Additional benefits with frozen fruit are that they’ll keep longer and retain the nutrient values, and they’re perfect for making protein smoothies without needing ice!
What about canned options?
If the produce is treated and canned quickly after it’s harvested, the nutrient content can remain high. However, we obviously don’t know how quickly this process happens. Also, through the canning process, the texture of fruit and vegetables may change, which might bother some people.
If you’re choosing canned options, watch out for brands that use syrup, or label the product as “cocktails” – these inherently have lots of sugar, meaning extra unhealthy calories.
Be sure to take advantage of local farmers markets in the spring and summer. When local farmers bring their produce to these events, the produce is freshly picked – yielding the best nutrient levels. If you’re lucky enough to live in the county, road side stalls are a huge bonus! Personally, we buy fresh fruit when it’s in-season, and usually stick to produce-focused stores. To make sure nothing goes to waste, I buy minimal amounts of fresh fruit, even if that means stopping at the store an extra time during the week. Other than that, we use frozen fruit because it’s an easy option that we can store as long as needed.