Frozen vegetables are not only simple and convenient to prepare, but they are also packed with nutrients! Frozen veggies are a healthy way to keep your kid’s vegetable intake up during the winter months when the availability of fresh produce can be is limited or expensive. And you may be surprised to learn that some frozen vegetables contain more nutrients than their fresh counterparts.
While many canned vegetables lose a lot of nutrients during the preservation process, frozen vegetables maintain their nutritional value. Fruits and vegetables that are commercially frozen tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, when they are most nutrient-rich. The processing method of flash-freezing locks in the nutrients. Fruits and vegetables that are shipped to the grocery store’s produce aisles are typically picked before they are ripe, so they will never have the same nutrient value as if they had been allowed to fully ripen.
Here are some helpful tips for preparing frozen veggies:
•Keep frozen vegetables no longer than six months
•Do not thaw frozen vegetables before cooking
•Cook vegetables for a short amount of time
•Steam or microwave in as little an amount of water as possible
Soups that are packed with frozen vegetables are a delicious and convenient way to get your kids to eat their veggies. Try these kid-friendly soup recipes that will have your kids asking for more!
2 cups all-natural chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
4 ounces dried alphabet pasta (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
One 7 3/4-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1. Place the broth, water, and tomato sauce in a medium saucepan and stir to combine.
2. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, vegetables, and chickpeas, and boil gently, uncovered, until the pasta is done, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Beef & Vegetable Soup
2 ½ pounds beef stew meat, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Two 14-ounce cans ready-to-serve all-natural beef broth
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can seasoned tomato sauce, or one 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, undrained
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup dried ditalini or other small pasta
1. Place the beef, broth, chickpeas, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning and pepper in a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker and mix until well combined. Cover and cook on high for 4 ½ hours or on low for 7 hours.
2. Stir in the mixed vegetables and the pasta. Continue cooking, covered, until the beef and pasta are tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Stir well before serving.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup sliced celery
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Salt and ground pepper
3 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
8 cups mixed frozen vegetables, such as carrots, corn, green beans, lima beans, and peas
1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Add broth, tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, and 3 cups water to pot; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes.
3. Add vegetables to pot, and return to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.