There’s no doubt that you’ve heard that buying fresh and local is a great way to ensure that you get the most nutrients out of your vegetables. While that is very true, it’s not always easy to do. Where I live, the farmers markets close down in the wintertime. I can still buy fresh at the supermarket, but those veggies have been on a truck for several days, which means some of the nutrient content has eroded. In this case, frozen veggies are a better choice since they are processed at their peak of freshness. Here are some that will save you dollars at the checkout and load you up with nutrients on your dinner plate.
1. Green Beans
You can buy at least four servings of green beans in a bag frozen for under $2 in most places. On the other hand, fresh green beans can cost double that or more. Green beans are a versatile veggie that work great alone, but are also perfect for soup, casseroles and pot pies. A dab of butter and they’re perfect for serving with chicken or fish.
There’s nothing better than fresh steamed asparagus, but unless it’s in season, you can often pay $4 or more for a pound of it. On the other hand, you can get a bag of frozen asparagus spears that will serve four or more people for less than $3 in many parts of the country. Asparagus is a great side dish for a steak and is a heavenly addition to quiche. Enjoy it without going broke by buying it frozen.
Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients. It has iron, calcium, fiber and antioxidants. It’s a no-brainer that it should be part of your healthy meal plan. However, a bag of fresh spinach can sometimes cost up to 3 or 4 times more than a box of frozen spinach. If you’re making a salad, stick with fresh, but if you’ll be cooking the spinach, save yourself some dough and buy frozen.
4. Brussels Sprouts
This is one of my favorite vegetables. Sautéed Brussels sprouts are a great addition to a turkey dinner or a steak grilled on the barbecue. They also taste great shaved into a salad or steamed with lemon and butter. However you serve them, buy frozen. You can get the same amount for about half the cost and this is one vegetable where I truly don’t see a difference in flavor between the fresh and the frozen versions.
Unless you plan to eat the mushrooms fresh, frozen ones will save you a bunch of cash. You’ll pay less than half for the frozen version than the fresh. Frozen mushrooms are great for soups, stew or sautéed to flavor burgers and patty melt sandwiches. I’m not a fan of raw mushrooms, so buying them frozen and saving some money just makes sense to me.
6. Bell Peppers
I love to stock up on all the colors of the bell peppers so I can make fajitas, but they can sometimes run more than $2 each! On the other hand, I can grab a bag of already sliced mixed colored bell peppers in the frozen aisle for less than $3. Sometimes, they even have onions already added so I can make fajitas without all the slicing and dicing. Perfect!
Steamed broccoli is one of my go-to side dishes when I make chicken or steak. It’s super easy and most people like it. A bag of frozen broccoli generally won’t cost more than $2, whereas it can cost twice that to buy enough to feed a family when it’s fresh. That’s because you get all that stem you aren’t going to eat, but have to pay for. There’s not a huge taste difference, so get it frozen and save the extra cash for a coffee or new nail polish.
What veggies do you buy frozen? How much does it save you?