Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables: Which is Better?

We college students like convenience, especially when it comes to food. When you need to get some veggies in, buying frozen is pretty tempting. Frozen veggies are so easy and good for you, but do they have the same nutrients as getting fresh veggies? Valley sat down with a nutritionist to get the scoop on how to get your greens.

Penn State nutrition professor Jill Patterson, Ph.D. says that both fresh and frozen vegetables are very nutrient dense.

“If you buy fresh veggies and use them reasonably close to the date that it was purchased on, then the vitamins are retained. However, if they are left in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a couple of weeks, then there is degradation of the vitamins,” Patterson says.

Patterson also mentions that frozen veggies are certainly more convenient since you can eat as much as you want and keep the rest frozen for next time.

“Frozen veggies are frozen soon after harvest, so they can be a good source of the vitamins and nutrients that you would normally get from fresh veggies as well,” Patterson says. However, even frozen veggies will start to lose their vitamins after they’ve been cooked and sitting out for a few hours.

Katie Smulligan, a junior majoring in nutrition, says that her biggest problem with frozen vegetables is that if they’re not kept below freezing temperatures, the vegetables will begin to thaw. If you refreeze frozen vegetables after thawing them, the taste, texture and sometimes even safety of the food can be compromised.

With frozen vegetables, they are frozen right after being picked to help preserve taste and nutrients. Frozen vegetables also allows us to eat vegetables when they’re are not in season, Smulligan says.

“I’m a huge supporter of farm to table and I also support local farmers. If I can give my business to a local farmer, 9 out of 10 times I will. I make sure to properly soak and wash them before consuming as well,” Smulligan says. “It takes a little longer than pulling a bag out of the freezer, but I think fresh vegetables taste better.”

In the end, whichever path you choose you’re still getting your veggies in. If you’d rather take the convenient route and go frozen, more power to you.


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