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Simon Says Freeze

The new generation of TV Dinners

Frozen food has come a long way since the Salisbury Steaks of our childhood. Still, defrosting dinner floods most of us with serious Mom Guilt. Here, the founders of Tastybaby, champions of healthy-but-convenient foods for families, give us their take on the new generation of frozen foods—and why we maybe shouldn’t feel so guilty, after all.

You’re not going to cause a vitamin-deficiency. There is a real misconception that we are “giving up” a lot in terms of vitamins and nutrients when we choose frozen over fresh. There have been so many technological advances in the freezing processes, and today food is frozen so quickly that much of the nutritional value is “locked in.” By contrast, many consumers don’t realize that their fresh foods degrade with every hour that they sit in produce bins or the refrigerator, losing key vitamins and enzymes.

Out-of-season produce tastes better frozen. One rule of thumb is to buy frozen fruits and vegetables that are out-of-season, since those that are “fresh” have probably been picked prematurely, flown across the world, and ripened in a warehouse. This can both compromise the taste and create a big carbon footprint; by contrast, frozen produce tends to be picked in-season, at the peak of ripeness, so it often has the best flavor.

It’s easy to spot the bad stuff. Just read the labels—watch out for scary-looking ingredients you can’t pronounce, or excessive sodium. The fewer ingredients listed, the better.

Today’s options go way beyond mixed veggies. Some of our personal faves:  Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Pancakes; Ian’s Chicken Nuggets; and Seapoint Farms edamame.

    —Shannan Swanson and Liane Weintraub, co-founders of Tastybaby