Why is National Frozen Food Month Celebrated Each March?
The National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association came up with the annual celebration to bring awareness to the benefits of frozen foods. Some people think of frozen foods as lacking the same nutrition as fresh foods, but that’s not always the case.
There are some ingredients in frozen foods that aren’t ideal, but many items are better than fresh because they store longer, which leads to less waste and can lower exposure to food poisoning.
How do you shop for the best-frozen foods? You’ll need to start with your parents’ dietary needs. If your mom or dad has to watch sodium content or has allergies, start there. Read nutrition labels to look for non-essential items from this list.
Many frozen foods have added preservatives. Sugar and salt are two of the most common preservatives used in frozen foods. You might see cellulose gum (carboxymethyl cellulose) listed in frozen foods.
It’s usually used to help thicken something like frozen yogurt or ice cream or as a stabilizer for frozen biscuits. It’s safe, but some people are sensitive to it and develop allergies or inflammation. You may want to avoid it by making these items from scratch.
Healthy oils benefit the skin, nails, and hair. Foods that are high in saturated fat are poor choices as they increase the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. To avoid saturated fats, avoid frozen foods that have a sauce.
If your parents want a sauce with their frozen vegetables, you could make a healthy sauce and add it after the vegetables are cooked. Instead of covering broccoli in a buttery garlic sauce, toss them with fresh garlic and walnut, avocado, or olive oil.
Check the sodium content of any frozen foods that are in a sauce. Frozen vegetables may seem like a healthy choice, but they may be covered in a butter or cheese sauce that contains too much sodium.
Read the label and aim for items with very little or no added sodium. You can find it hiding in ingredient lists under terms like salt, sea salt, or sodium chloride.
It’s recommended that people keep sodium intake to a teaspoon, which is less than 2,300 mg per day. The less salt that’s in your frozen items, the better.
Sometimes, frozen foods have added sugar that isn’t necessary. Frozen chicken breasts may seem like a healthy purchase until you find out they’ve been soaked in a brine that contains sugar or a sweetener like corn syrup. Brined meats also contain higher levels of sodium, which is also a concern.
Making meals from scratch using frozen fruits and vegetables with no added sugar, salt, etc. is always better. If you don’t have time to make homemade meals for your parents, hire home care aides for meal preparation. A home care specialist helps you understand how to arrange services and what it costs.
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