Everyone knows that the fastest path to better health involves eating a nutritious diet, and that includes adding more fruit and vegetables to your regular meals.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, eaten whole, are great sources of nutrition. They are full of fibre and water, which helps to fill us up, resulting in a lower calorie intake. Fruits, especially, are surprisingly versatile, and can serve either as a meal on their own, or as an accompanying dessert or snack.
As much as we love to have them fresh, fruits especially however, they aren't always in season. Therefore, many people often choose frozen or dried fruit to help supplement their diet, especially for fruits that are not widely grown or easily available outside their native countries.
Frozen and dried fruits are also a convenient way to consume fruits, while maintaining the same level of nutrition as fresh ones.
High in Nutrients
While nothing beats eating fruit while it's fresh, frozen fruits may be even more nutrient dense than fresh because they are frozen when nutrient quality is the highest. Examples of frozen fruit include berries like blueberries or raspberries. Do take note that during processing, some fruits may be blanched in hot water before being frozen, which may reduce their vitamin content, and may affect their taste.
Meanwhile, dried foods are able to maintain their original shape and much of their texture. Dried fruit is up to six times higher in energy than fresh fruit, due to a concentration effect through the removal of water.
Drying also increases levels of some vitamins and minerals within the fruits. For example, a 30g serving of dried apricots has the same iron content as 175g of fresh apricots.
Preserves Fruit Longer
Freezing fruits at home is a great way to reduce food waste and give a second chance to produce that might otherwise go bad. If you have purchased a lot of fresh fruits, you can freeze them in containers and thaw them out in the future when you want to consume them.
For dried fruits, because they have had their water content removed, they can be stored at room temperature without the risk of spoiling, giving them a far longer shelf life than fresh fruits. To guarantee the lasting freshness of these fruits, they are often sold vacuum-sealed inside cans or pouches.
Be Cautious of Sugar
While frozen fruits have the benefit of being able to retain most of the characteristics and nutrients they possessed while they were fresh, there is one important difference between them and dried fruits.
Due to the concentrated nature of the drying process, dried fruits have a slightly higher sugar content compared to fresh fruits. For example, fresh strawberries contain 4.9% sugar. However, freeze-dried strawberries contain a surprising 71% sugar!
This is the reason why most dried fruits are sold with no added sugar, due to their natural sweetness. This is also the reason why dried fruit is still considered a healthy alternative to fresh fruit. However, it is important to remember to eat dried fruit in moderation, as you can get the same amount of sweetness as fresh fruit, but in a smaller portion.
Snacks On the Go
Thanks to their reduced size, dried fruits are also much more easily transported compared to fresh fruits, allowing you to enjoy them anywhere, at any time. They can be packed and eaten as is, or added to nuts and seeds to create trail mix.
You can also take advantage of the versatile nature of frozen fruit by blending them into a fruit smoothie that you can carry with you in a thermal drink container. The possibilities are endless!
You definitely should add more fruits to your diet, and frozen or dried fruits make a good alternative to fresh fruits as they offer more variety and choice, while still being packed with nutrition.
There is no limit to how many recipes you can make from these fruit ingredients. For more ideas on the types of fruits you can include in your life, click here.Sources:
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