Healthy frozen food

Out of time? Look to the freezer for ready-made healthy choices.

An online poll of 877 Mother Inc website subscribers and visitors found that one in two mums feel guilty when they reach for a frozen ready-made meal believing they’re not healthy for you.

But the good news is this is just a myth.

Frozen is good for you too!

Frozen vegetables can actually be nutritionally superior to fresh vegetables.
Part of the reason is fresh vegetables are stored and transported to retail outlets while frozen vegetables and fruit are stored longer.

Any nutrient losses in frozen vegetables during processing will be the same as the losses that occur during the cooking of fresh vegetables.

But the key benefit of frozen meals is they are close by in the fridge.

Frozen meals including vegetables are convenient to store and serve for busy mums and here are some simple tips for keeping your family healthy.

Juggling work and family

A majority of mums surveyed juggle work commitments with parenthood and manage most of the meals.

The survey found that only 1 in 4 partners prepared a meal once a week with most preparing fresh food.

Stay-at-home and part-time working Mums serve frozen meals at least once a week.

A majority of mums surveyed said they would buy more frozen meals if they were better informed about the nutrient value, so we’ve prepared a handy guide to help you navigate the frozen meal isle of the supermarket.

So ready-made meals can be a good option for families because they’re a complete nutrition package rather than just a weight loss solution.

There are several healthy ready-made meal options on supermarket shelves – but its important consumers read the labels.

Key advice to mums is – frozen meals beats takeways!

The survey highlights the fact that mums often feel guilty about serving frozen ready-made meals but lets face it they are healthier than take-aways.  Part-time and full time working Mums have so much on their plates these days that this is one area they should relax.

To learn more about how to incorporate healthy frozen food into your family’s meal plan log onto www.mccainhealthychoice.com.au.

Quick Guide to Frozen Ready Meals

High quality frozen ready meals can be a simple, convenient and quick way to provide your family with a healthy meal. These benefits include:

  • the nutrients of foods at their most fresh
  • they provide an easy method of portion control, and make it easy to monitor fat and energy intake
  • they often contain beneficial ingredients, such as omega 3 fatty acids
Don’t forget to check the nutrition panel when you see common nutrition claims, like ‘low-salt’ or ‘low-fat’. When you see low-fat claims, look out for the overall energy content – calories can often be hidden in these products as added sugars.

  • Fat: choose options that are low in fat (no more than 3 g total fat per 100 g of food). It is also important to look at the type of fat that the meal contains, in particular opt for low in saturated fat meals with no more than 1.5 g of saturated fatty acids per 100 g of food. Meals high in saturated fats can lead to various health problems including heart disease and high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  • Salt: look for low sodium options, which contain no more than 120 mg of sodium per 100 g of the food. You should also minimize the amount of salt you add to foods for yourself and your children (they have a lower daily intake requirement than adults).
  • Sugar: look out for hidden sugars in foods. Low sugar foods do not contain more than 5 g total sugars per 100 g of the food. Hidden sugars can lead to excess energy intake and weight gain.
  • Energy: check the nutrition panel for foods with a low energy content (also known as low-calorie or low-kilojoule). They should have no more than 170 kJ per 100 g of solid or semi-solid foods.
  • Fibre: Fibre aids digestion and helps maintain regular blood sugar levels – it is essential for you and your kids. Foods that can claim to be a ‘source of fibre’ must contain at least 1.5 g of dietary fibre per serving, while ‘high fibre’ means it contains 3 g or more.
  • Preservatives: while the jury is still out on many artificial additives, frozen food is a great way to ensure the benefits of fresh food are retained without the need for preservatives.
  • Colours: high quality frozen ready meals like Healthy Choice capture the goodness of fresh food, which means artificial colouring is not required.
 
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